LATROBE – When Mike Nolan took over as the new head coach in San Francisco last year, he began dismantling everything that had been put together by the previous administration, releasing nearly half of the roster from the year before.
One player swept aside was the team's fourth-round pick from 2004, linebacker Richard Seigler.
Seigler, who played in seven games with San Francisco as a rookie, languished for several months out of football before the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to their practice squad in November of last year. And though he was never put on the active roster, the former Oregon State star is trying to make the most of his second chance in the NFL.
"The new coaching staff came in and I was out with the old," said Seigler. "It had me upset. But if they hadn't done that, I would have never had a chance to experience the Super Bowl. "I thought about running off to Australia or something, but the Steelers gave me that second chance and I'm trying to make the most of it."
The 6-2, 238-pound Seigler has done that and more. Though he's third on the team's depth chart behind Clint Kreiwaldt backing up James Farrior at inside linebacker, he's the team's leading tackler through two preseason games.
After recording four tackles and a sack in the team's first preseason game, he followed that up with five more tackles Saturday against Minnesota, tying for the team lead. He now finds himself firmly in a battle for a spot on the 53-man roster. He's come a long way for a guy who nearly passed out at his first practice with the Steelers last year.
"When I got here, I had to get a physical," Seigler said. "They took all of this blood from me and then said I had to go to practice. I was like, ‘It takes 24 hours to get all of that blood back.' I went out and played, but I was dizzy.
"They took my blood and threw me out there. But I felt so emphatic about putting on a helmet again, I didn't mind. They say you never know what you've got until it's gone. That's really true for me. I maybe took the 49ers for granted being a draft pick, I thought I had it made in the shade. But I've bounced back."
Even though the players on the practice squad last season also got Super Bowl rings, Seigler wouldn't mind helping the team win another this season as an active player.
Then again, he feels pretty strongly that he earned his ring last year too.
"I was the special teams player of the year last year," Seigler said. "I was taking like 80 to 90 snaps. I was offense and defense. Some guys didn't even know what position I played."
They should have no doubt now.
Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.