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Old 08-23-2006, 04:49 AM   #1
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Default Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

By Mike Prisuta
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When Richard Seigler gets cut, he bleeds.

He just didn't know how much until he got a call from the Steelers last November with an offer to join their practice squad.

"They said I had two hours to catch my flight," recalled Seigler, who was still stewing after having been released by the 49ers two months prior. "The next day I had to take a physical, and then it was, 'You gotta go to practice.' And I'm like, 'It takes 24 hours to get all the blood back in your system.'

"They took about 10 pints, it felt like. I was out there dizzy, but I was out there giving it my all."

Seigler has been doing whatever the Steelers have asked of him since.

He's played linebacker on the "show" defense that prepares the first-team offense for each week's opponent. He's also played fullback and tight end on the "show" offense, impersonating players such as Jerramy Stevens and Todd Heap for the benefit of the Steelers' first-team defense.

The reward was anonymity -- and a Super Bowl ring.

"I definitely earned mine," he said. "I was the practice squad player of the year last year. Coming in halfway through the season I was taking about 80, 90 snaps a day. I was an offensive and defensive practice squad guy. Some guys didn't even know what position I played because I was catching so many deep balls.

"They didn't know if I was a tight end, a fullback, a receiver."

He's trying for linebacker-only this summer at St. Vincent College, on the active roster rather than the practice squad.

That's a position Seigler seemed destined to inherit after San Francisco selected him out of Oregon State in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

He played in seven games as a rookie, making six tackles on special teams and one assisted stop on defense.

Then the bottom fell out on a career that was just getting started.

"They fired the coaching staff, and they released half the team almost, close to 20, 22 players," Seigler said. "I was out with the old; I wasn't in with the new. That statement, 'You never know what you've got 'til it's gone,' was really true with me. I took, maybe, the 49ers for granted, being a high pick. I just thought I had it all made in the shade.

"The Steelers gave me a second life. I was sitting at home for about two-and-a-half months, absolutely not doing anything. I was actually thinking about running away to Australia or something, but the Steelers came through and saved me and gave me that second wind. I'm trying to make the most of it."

To do so, he'll have to survive a numbers crunch that seemingly has Seigler, an inside linebacker, battling with outside linebackers Andre Frazier and Arnold Harrison for one or two available roster spots at the position.

"I love the Steelers organization," Seigler insisted. "I really want to stick around.

"(Defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau, the way he runs the defense, they really give their players a chance to be playmakers here. You don't have to be a robot. And Coach (Bill) Cowher is a great coach to play for. He gives the best speeches I've ever heard."

Seigler will give blood again if that's what it takes to keep hearing those.

And he'll impersonate any tight end you care to name, but not the Steelers' coach in a speech-making mode.

"I'm not in that good with the organization or with Bill Cowher to be going around talking about that," Seigler said.

Not yet.

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Old 08-23-2006, 06:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Practice makes perfect

Personally?...I love stories like this...kid works his ass off...hard work should reap rewards...and in this case it did....well done...

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Old 08-23-2006, 01:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Practice makes perfect

It reminds me of the story with Rocky Bleir (sp). How the The Chief wasn't giving up on him and Rocky worked his butt off for it. I hope this kid at least pushes the envelope for a few of these other guys!

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Old 08-23-2006, 01:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Practice makes perfect

I like him and i think he has a shot over Harrison.. Not sure of Frazier though. I hope he makes it but if he does, that means someone else i like will have to go ... we just have too many good players lol
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Practice makes perfect

Possibly due to Dre's (Frazier's) obstinance,....he (Seigler) may very well have a good chance to make the team. Given his motor, need to impose his will, and appreciation of his oppurtunity,....i'd personally be in favor of seeing him do it big on sundays.

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