(Editor’s note: Montana Western press release)

HIALEAH, Fla. – Former Montana Western defensive back and kick returner Mitch Pelroy has signed a professional contract with the Atlantic Sharks of the Rivals Professional Football League (RPFL).

“I’ve always wanted to get paid to play (football), my dream is to go to the National Football League (NFL),” said Pelroy. “This opportunity gives me a chance to chase my dream of playing in the NFL without any regrets later in life.”

Pelroy, originally from Coupeville, Wash., played in 38 games over four seasons with the Bulldogs and had 79 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, and seven pass brea-ups. He also averaged 31 yards per kick return with more than 1,100 return yards in his career.

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“Mitch was a huge part of the resurgence of Bulldog football,” said Western head coach Ryan Nourse. “His contributions on and off the field made a positive impact on the program.”

Pelroy was the fifth pick in the 26th round of the RPFL draft held on Dec. 2. The draft consisted of 75 rounds. To be eligible for the draft prospects must have attended a tryout. Pelroy participated in a combine in Salt Lake City, and was named best in the combine.

“There were some Division I guys there, guys who have been in the NFL and who are trying to get back in, dudes that can play. I have to keep pushing,” said Pelroy, who drives to Bozeman three or four times a week to train with former NFL linebacker Dane Feltcher. “There are no off days, I have to make the most of my opportunity.”

The Atlantic Sharks are an expansion team, based in Hialeah, Fla., which is a suburb of Miami. The RPFL consists of eight teams and offers players an opportunity to gain experience and produce quality game film that they can use to market themselves to NFL and Canadian Football League (CFL) teams

Pelroy has signed a four-year, $500,000, incentive-laden contract with the Sharks, who plan on using Pelroy as a running back, receiver, and on kick returns.

“I’m excited to be a running back again,” Pelroy said, “I’m not the biggest guy, but I need to play big, fast, and be explosive.”

He now runs a 4.42-second 40-yard dash. The contract is in no way guaranteed: Pelroy will have to survive a three-day training camp in Miami, which starts on Feb. 1, 2018.

“We are all proud of this opportunity Mitch has earned,” said Nourse.

His goal is to get a tryout with a CFL or NFL team, but, if that doesn’t work out, Pelroy, who is a certified personal trainer, has other plans.

“I want to work somewhere where I can train other athletes,” he said.