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Richard Seigler is ready, willing and able

Jun 24, 2004 at 12:00 AM

The connection is there between San Francisco and Oregon State University Beaver Richard Seigler. It is because of head coach Dennis Erickson who was responsible for coercing Seigler to join Oregon State from the University of Las Vegas. So as the 31st pick in the fourth round and 127th overall arrived, the San Francisco 49ers drafted middle linebacker Richard Seigler with a ringing endorsement from it's very own head coach.

"I wasn't being offered a scholarship by anybody else," Seigler said. "I felt I had all the credentials in the world to come to the University of Las Vegas, but they didn't feel like we'd be a good fit. So I had to venture off and make my way up to Oregon." It was just after this that Seigler became Oregon's top recruiter for talent in Las Vegas, convincing former Pop Warner teammate Jonathan Pollard (Las Vegas High) and strong safety Lawrence Turner (Cheyenne High), to join the Beavers.

What sets also just as well when talking about Oregon State University is running back Steven Jackson taken in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft by our archenemy in the St. Louis Rams with the 24th overall pick. It will be up to Richard Seigler now a San Francisco 49er to assist the 49ers in identifying his weaknesses and exploiting them as best we can. This senior from Las Vegas is destined for fortune inside the NFL.

He is the oldest of nine children in a family that was raised on the wrong side of town. He has been studying the art of behavioral science and wants to lien up an internship with a group home for juvenile delinquents sometime.

He takes a great interest in helping others but his attitude hasn't always been conforming to his heart as he has sought to brush away his own internal demons of his childhood himself. He finds that the state of Oregon has enlightened him both physically and spiritually in almost every facet of his life.

"It seems interesting, working with troubled teens or at-risk youths," he says. "I think it's what I want to do when I finish football. I think I could be a guide for those kids."

"Some people are kind of set up for failure; maybe that was me. The environment in my neighborhood wasn't suitable for a person to succeed. I have learned all that from my classes in college, how the world works."

Experiences and friends is what Richard Seigler has now since coming to Oregon. He has embraced the Oregon State University campus and its football program with all his being. He looks up to the coaches he has had the fortune of playing for and credits the new found society with his fresh state of mind and clarity on what life really is supposed to be about.

Seigler comes at a time that is really frustrating for the San Francisco 49ers. In a time where we are now embroiled in a bitter contract dispute with first round selection Julian Peterson from the 2000 NFL draft. He is fresh voice and a fresh spirit one that could be relied upon heavily starting on special teams in on certain play selections with the defensive game plans being formulated by defensive coordinator Willy Robinson.

Almost four months ago the San Francisco 49ers slapped the franchise tag on linebacker Julian Peterson prohibiting him from leaving the organization in essence as a free agent. He has already missed mandatory mini-camps held in May and June at the advice of his notorious agents in the Poston brothers.

And he is refusing to sign the one-year $5.8 million dollar contract that is part of the franchise tag exclusive deal. It is a situation that the 49ers are frustrated with in that they understand the value Julian Peterson is to the team and at the same time have come forward with a long-term contract at the same time.

"My teammates and coaching staff know that I'm willing to work once I'm in there, so once we get all this stuff worked out with (management) and my lawyers, everything should work out fine then, Peterson said while co-hosting "NFL Total Access" earlier on the NFL Network.

League rules stipulate that the two sides cannot discuss any further contract negotiations until July 15th, which is two weeks prior the start of training camp. Peterson's agents Carl and Kevin Poston are very well known for the player contract negotiations and turning more bang for the buck for their high profile clients. Julian Peterson is just another client hoping to land a mega profitable deal that will set him up for the rest of his life.

The Postons have initially proposed up to $30 million dollars in guaranteed money for Julian something that the salary cap strained 49ers are very unwilling to do. Julian earlier in the season mentioned his intent of wanting to stay on in San Francisco but as is always the case it has to be for the right price.

"It's a blessing to be mentioned as the franchise tag. It's an honor," Peterson said in a Dec. 3 interview. "Obviously, you're not really getting what you want as far as signing bonus and all that kind of stuff, but you're considered one of the best at your position and that's a blessing for me. I almost didn't make it this far. I'm happy to be out here."

However it is seemingly looking like as if Peterson is just about the money in many ways as the cancer of the Poston brothers continues to spread throughout him. Peterson, 25, is just coming off another outstanding season in which he totaled 144 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions and 14 pass defended. And for all these efforts, the former Michigan State football star earned his second Pro Bowl berth.

What is like blood to a vampire is what a salary is to the Poston brothers as right before the 49ers slapped the franchise tag on Julian a deal was struck between the Washington Redskins and linebacker LaVar Arrington in the sum of $80 million dollars for eight years. The deal was so lucrative it even included a $26.5 million clause in bonuses of which most were available for him almost immediately.

What is so surprising is that General Manager Terry Donahue really likes Julian Peterson and considers him a part of the future for the franchise to build around. However no matter how much he thinks of Julian it doesn't equal the greed that breaths in the lungs of the Poston brothers.

"I do not expect us to be in any heavy negotiations or anything like that. We've made an offer that is the highest in the history of the franchise. We've offered this athlete the biggest contract in the history of the 49ers. We have offered him the second highest linebacker contract in the history of the NFL. The only player at his position that would have a higher contract than he would be Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis is a MVP of the league and a perennial Pro Bowler. We've attempted to make Julian the second highest paid linebacker in the league. We've offered him a contract that is higher than Brian Urlacher's. We've offered him a contract that is higher than the contract of LaVar Arrington signed for new money, for new money I am talking about. We've gone where we can go. We've made a very, very competitive offer. We understand these things. This isn't any animosity with Julian or the Postons. This is part of doing business in the NFL. It really is. "

Unfortunately in such a heavy contract dispute Julian is absolutely no where to be seen other than through his agents as they wiggle and jiggle to secure more money that is guaranteed to their client, which in essence makes them that much richer in their own sense. One thing has been made abundantly clear though and that is that the 49ers want Julian Peterson around and have allowed other high profile veterans go just to secure his contract rights.

Anyway you slice it is Julian Peterson worth breaking the bank for? I would have to say no flatly only because our salary cap situation is what it is. Peterson's agents are asking for $30 million in guaranteed money, and they are agents like to many other NFL teams an abomination to the league itself as they prey on every facet of contract infidelity there is.

Peterson himself has told national radio shows that he wants more money than Ray Lewis (seven years, $50 million with an $18 million signing bonus), LaVar Arrington (eight years, $80 million) and Brian Urlacher (whose $23.3 million guaranteed for the first three years is one of the richest deals ever). Think of where these three fit in as linebackers though? All three are a force in the run and the pass, but Lewis is a force in the locker room as well.

In retrospect please take into consideration that Peterson mans the strong side, where the 49ers were run over last season at Minnesota, Green Bay and Cincinnati. With Peterson absent from mini-camps veteran middle linebacker Derek Smith has moved over and is assuming his roles and duties. And if there is anyone you an honestly count in it is this man right folks. Derek Smith was the 49ers leading tackler last season and has been consistent all through his tenure with the 49ers. It is fitting that he takes on the role of Peterson while he's out during a contract dispute.

Getting back to Richard Seigler is someone that is not without the experience of injury in which he suffered a torn medial collateral knee ligament during the second quarter of the Las Vegas Bowl. He continued playing despite this injury until the Beavers were far ahead in the fourth quarter. Some continue to question why he kept playing and what his motive was.

"I had to," the Las Vegas native says. "It was my last college game, played in my hometown. I couldn't stop playing. But I didn't understand the severity of the injury. I could have messed the knee up real bad."

Fortunately for Seigler the knee didn't require surgery and he rehabilitated it for nearly a month and then was off to train for the NFL combine. He never even considered skipping the very important event. This was a shining example of just how tough a linebacker we are getting in the example of Seigler.

"I was really excited about letting all the doctors check out my knee," he says. "A doctor from every team looked at it. I passed the physical with some doctors; with some I didn't."

Just a month later, he returned to Indianapolis to allow doctors another look at the knee, and what they found was astounding. "It checked out perfect," he says. "It's not 100% perfect yet, but it will be by the time the season rolls around. And it shouldn't affect my draft status."

There were still those scouts on teams that took the injury with more seriousness than others as the injury raised red flags as to how durable and how fast he really was. When he ran his 40 in 4.86 there was reasons for concern among a lot of scouts as they reasoned it was due to the injured knee.

"I'm a football player," Seigler says. "I don't run track. I play football faster than I sprint. I read keys and fly to the ball and make plays. I think the scouts recognize that."

ESPN had Richard Seigler listed as the 12th linebacker to be taken in the draft, and the fifth inside linebacker to be taken at that. Regardless of that he was drafted 17th in the linebacker class and may prove to be the better of the bunch.

"Without question Richard is a joy to be around," coach Mike Riley says. "I love his attitude. He takes a great deal of pride in how he does things. He's good with assignments, and he always wants to do more to help the team. He asked to be on the punt team, and then he went out and made a great play against Fresno State."

Seigler is not an average player folks. He is one of the best linebackers in Oregon State University's history, on par with Nick Barnett, his teammate for three years who was the No. 1 draft choice and is starting for the Green Bay Packers as a rookie.

Oregon State's Richard Seigler stands 6-2 and weighs 235-pounds, drafted 4th round 127th overall

Strengths: He has a frame that has room to add bulk. Does a good job of filling hard between the tackles. Has great initial quickness and does a good job reading keys. He is disruptive from tackle to tackle. He displays good instincts and has decent range in zone coverage. He also has good ball skills and has leadership qualities. He has a hard work ethic and a non-stop motor.

Weaknesses: Needs some bulk. Runs around too many blocks and needs to use his hands better when engaging blockers. Lacks ideal top-end speed and great range versus the run. Is limited in man-to-man coverage, and needs work on his closing speed. Overall: Seigler is a playmaker and knows how to make big plays. He must improve his technique in being able to shed blockers. He plays hard enough and has adequate skills to be a top special teams player or a solid back up.

Anyway you look at Richard Seigler you see a contributor to the San Francisco organization. This is the leading strength of our defense and continues to be its heartbeat from season to season. Special teams will be enhanced with his presence and hopefully he'll get his shot on both the kick and punt return teams. I like what we've seen in him thus far and see him as a solid depth addition that will spell relief to the starting trio of linebackers on the field.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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