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A look at the life of an undrafted rookie

Pat Schiller AP

Undrafted rookies who fight through training camp just to get a spot on the practice squad don’t often get a lot of media attention, but the one such undrafted rookie is on the cover of this week’s New York Times Magazine.

Pat Schiller, a linebacker who’s currently on the Falcons’ practice squad, is the subject of a lengthy profile largely because his uncle, Charles Siebert, is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, but the way he’s spent his life since he was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Northern Illinois makes for a fascinating account of the life of a young man who’s desperate to show that he has the talent to play in the NFL. Schiller had a tough time of it early on, making the adjustment from being one of the best players on the field in most of his games at Northern Illinois, to one of the worst players on the field at the start of training camp.

“I’m kind of nobody around here,” Schiller said early in training camp. “Let’s see . . . how do I put this? You go from being one of the top players in college. OK not one of the top. If I were that, I would have been drafted. But I would say one of the top three to four hundred players. And then you come to the NFL and, well, I’ve never felt so bad at a sport I know I’m good at.”

Schiller didn’t do well enough in the preseason to make the 53-man roster, but shortly after the Falcons cut him, they brought him back to their practice squad, where he remains. The profile of him is a good look at the kind of nameless, faceless NFL player we don’t usually hear about.

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7 Responses to “A look at the life of an undrafted rookie”
  1. mjbulls45 says: Nov 25, 2012 9:57 AM

    never say your nobody,

    it would be tough to find anyone who loves and glorifies football, sports, and athletes then i do,

    but always keep real life in perspective,

    everybody is somebody. no man or woman is greater then the next.

  2. august1969 says: Nov 25, 2012 10:52 AM

    Nonsense. Brady is better than Sanchez.

  3. nfloracle says: Nov 25, 2012 10:54 AM

    Great story and very interesting reading that shows how much it takes to make it in the NFL.

    Thanks for linking to it.

  4. greggo1545 says: Nov 25, 2012 10:56 AM

    I know I felt the same way going from high school to college and again going from college to a career. Thats life. These situations make you doubt yourself, but when you over come it and become successful (in anything- doesn’t have to be football) you become stronger mentally and know you can accomplish anything. Keep fighting!

  5. akshunj says: Nov 25, 2012 11:46 AM

    There are so many examples of undrafted talent that went on to become stars. Brian Waters, Wes Welker, Adam Vinatieri, James Harrison, Antonio Gates, Warren Moon…

    Never EVER give up!

  6. 4thqtrsaint says: Nov 25, 2012 11:53 AM

    And Pierre Thomas is better than Knowshon Mareno

  7. 4thqtrsaint says: Nov 25, 2012 11:54 AM

    And Chris Ivory is better than a lot of drafted running backs

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