'Ol Coug Karstetter readies for season abroad

THE FOOTBALL PLAYING days of former Coug wide receiver Jared Karstetter aren't over yet. He told CF.C this week that he will head to Europe for this coming season...

Karstetter will depart for Italy in early March to play with the Parma Panthers, an American football team in Italy.

"I'm really excited because it will be a fun experience," Karsetter said. "I don't know what level of football it is, and I'm sure it's not as high of competition as here, but it's more about the experience and being able to travel."

The whole process for Karstetter heading overseas began earlier this year when he met with friend Craig McIntyre at an Eastern Washington football game, who told him about his playing days for Parma. The possibility of playing in Europe immediately intrigued the 6-4, 215-pound Karstetter. There were some other options for the Spokane native to try and continue his football career, but ultimately, Karstetter said, Italy seemed like the best fit.

Karstetter had a brief stint with the Detroit Lions last season, but he was cut shortly after joining the team.

"I could try and play in the arena league, but I didn't want to do that," he said. "The reason I'm doing this is because I get to travel. Dental school is really what I want to do and it works out perfectly because the season will be over later on in the summer. Dental school is what I'm excited about, but I love to play football and this will be a fun experience before school starts back up."

Karstetter has been accepted to the UW and Creighton dental programs, but admitted that he is leaning towards heading to Montlake.

So he's going to be a Husky in the fall?

"I know, I know," Karstetter said with a laugh. "You know I'll always be a Cougar though. There's no denying that."

The Parma training facility is located in Northern Italy and the team has found success in recent years, winning the Italian championship in 2010 and 2011. The team was also highlighted by famed author John Grisham in "Playing for Pizza", a novel about Cleveland Browns QB Rich Dockery, who blows a big lead in the AFC Championship game, then heads to Italy to resurrect his playing career.

Karstetter was a four-year contributor for the Cougars, finishing his career with 166 receptions, 1,998 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was named an All Pac-12 Honorable Mention his senior season in 2011 after hauling in 60 receptions for 700 yards and six touchdowns.