EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Rich Seubert's first experience at the NFL Draft will take place almost 2½ years after he played his last game.
Seubert, the former guard who joined the Giants as a rookie free agent and spent 10 seasons with the franchise, has been selected to announce the team's second-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft from the podium at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. Each of the 32 teams will have a former player make a draft announcement. The group this year features six Hall of Famers, including Deion Sanders (Atlanta), Jonathan Ogden (Baltimore) and Larry Little (Miami).
Last year, seven-time Pro Bowler Michael Strahan announced the Giants' second-round choice at Radio City.
"It's cool," Seubert said of the honor. "I was never drafted, but I think it would be neat to be there to be part of the Giants draft selection. It means a lot. It will be a memory for me and I'm looking forward to it."
Seubert joined the Giants in 2001 as an undrafted free agent from Western Illinois. After appearing in just two games as a rookie, Seubert made 22 consecutive starts before fracturing his right fibula, tibia and ankle late in a game against Philadelphia on Oct. 19, 2003. The devastating injury forced him to miss the entire 2004 season.
He played sparingly in 2005. In the 2006 NFC Wild Card Game, Seubert stepped in at left guard. He started all but two of the Giants' next 53 games (including seven at center). Seubert joined Chris Snee, David Diehl, Shaun O'Hara and Kareem McKenzie to form one of the NFL's best offensive lines, one that helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII.
In 2010, Seubert was named a first-team All-Pro by Sports Illustrated. His versatility, durability and high level of play prompted general manager Jerry Reese to call Seubert "the MVP of the team" in a news conference the day after the season. But while playing center in the 2010 season finale in Washington, Seubert suffered a dislocated kneecap and ligament damage.
When the 2011 lockout ended, Seubert was not physically ready to play. He and O'Hara were released on the same day; neither ever played football again.
Seubert remains a fervent Giants fan.
"That's the only team I can watch," Seubert said. "As the great Wellington Mara once said, 'Once a Giant, Always a Giant.' My kids' rooms are plastered in Giants gear. I spend however much money it costs to get the NFL Ticket to watch the Giants games. Then I realized last year that the Giants have a lot of nationally televised games, so I didn't even need NFL Ticket. That's the only team I follow. I think playing for the same team for 10 years and what they've meant to me, it's hard to watch anybody else."
Shortly before Christmas, 2011, Seubert and his family – wife Jodi and children Hunter, Isaac and Hailey – moved to San Luis Obispo, Calif., which is 2½ hours north of Los Angeles and three hours south of San Francisco, right on the coast.
"I enjoy it a lot," Seubert said. "The weather is nice. We just got back from Wisconsin (his native state) and we were sitting in a snow storm on Sunday."
Seubert is still immersed in football, coaching the offensive line at Mission College Prep in San Luis Obispo.
"I truly enjoy coaching the kids," he said. Seubert said he has shown the players his Super Bowl ring to give them a little extra motivation.
"I break it out," he said. "We were playing for the championship game this year and I broke it out and showed it to them. I told them I had two from high school and a couple of college championship rings and one Super Bowl ring and they all mean the same thing to me. It all means that you're a champion. The kids appreciate it. I told the kids that they have to work hard enough and go get their own.
"I always throw in Coach (Tom) Coughlin's quotes. It's hard not to. Coach Coughlin has meant a lot to me and, obviously, I'll never be as good as a coach as Coach Coughlin. But if I could just pick some of his stuff and try to use it and try to get my kids motivated, it works."
Seubert could certainly inspire his players by simply telling his story. How many undrafted players from Western Illinois go on to play 104 regular season and eight postseason games, start for the NFL's flagship franchise, earn a Super Bowl ring and become a highly-respected and well-liked player along the way?
"It was a cool run, it really was," Seubert said. "It really was. If somebody would have told me I would have played for 10 years or been with the Giants for 10 years, I would have told them they were nuts. I just truly enjoyed the game. I enjoyed the people in that locker room and the coaches and all of you (support) guys. I got to know everybody in the organization. I think that's special. If I could do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have been so shy my first couple of years. The first couple of years you're afraid to talk to anybody and once they're there for three or four years you start opening up and get to know everybody, and I think that's truly the part I like the most. Getting to know everybody in the organization and having fun but getting your work done. Everybody is there for one cause and that's to win. So yeah, I'm proud of myself."
As well he should be.
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