Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: It was a tough road to the NFL for Wesley Saunders

          
   
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Central PA.
    Posts
    54,683
    My Mood
    Curmudgeon

    It was a tough road to the NFL for Wesley Saunders

    Weslye Saunders was on top of the world, and loving it.

    Saunders just finished his junior year at South Carolina and was being mentioned in the same breath as Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph as the best tight end in college football.
    After making the decision to return for his senior year, all the 6-foot-5, 270-pounder had to do was stay healthy and stay out of trouble and a lucrative pro career likely awaited him.

    He did neither.

    Saunders quickly found himself on a twisting and turning road that eventually came to an end with a spot on the Steelers' roster.

    "A lot of guys are happy to be here, but I don't know if their struggles were like mine," Saunders said. "I feel like my struggles makes it all a little more precious being here. I always think of how easily it could've been taken away from me."
    Over a span of 14 months, it was almost taken away from him time and time again starting with a trip with some friends to a party in Florida that kicked off a series of events:

    » Saunders was investigated by the NCAA during the summer before his senior year about improper contact with an agent during a party in Miami.
    » While investigating the contact with the agent, the NCAA found Saunders was among several athletes who lived off-campus at a swanky Columbia, SC., hotel for a rate of only $14.59 a night.

    » After several meetings with NCAA officials, it was deemed that Saunders wasn't being truthful during the investigation that led to South Carolina removing him from the team.

    » Saunders failed to file paperwork required for entry into the draft because he didn't play his senior season. As a result, he was ruled ineligible for the draft.
    » After an appeal, Saunders was ruled eligible.

    » At the NFL combine during a routine physical, Saunders was told that he had a broken foot that would require surgery and didn't participate.

    » After a well-attended pro day in which 28 NFL teams were on hand, he went undrafted.

    » Due to the NFL lockout, Saunders had to wait three months before he would sign with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent.
    "I felt like it was never going to end," Saunders said. "It was almost to the point where it was funny. Like 'What's next?' I thought teams would understand, but it was just too many red flags."

    Too many red flags for every team except the Steelers.
    An organization that puts as much emphasis on the character of a player as they do athletic ability, the Steelers were intrigued by Saunders' story. Three weeks after attending his pro day, and a couple days before the draft, they had him in for a visit.
    "I really just gave my side of the story," Saunders said. "I came from a good home and feel that I come from a good background and I let them know that I did bad things, but that I wasn't a bad person."

    Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians bought what he heard out of Saunders during the visit.

    "His history said he made one bad mistake," Arians said. "Other than that, he comes from a good family and had been a pretty good guy. The risk was very minimal for us."
    Still, the Steelers waited to grab Saunders after the draft, putting him at a big disadvantage.

    Not only did he not have any offseason workouts to get acclimated to the professional game, Saunders had 19 months of rust to knock off.
    Saunders impressed enough to make it to the final cut with veteran tight end John Gilmore. Knowing his past disappointments, Saunders feared the worst on cut-down day.

    "I couldn't tell you how bad that day was," Saunders said. "But, finally, something went right for me."

  2. #2
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Central PA.
    Posts
    54,683
    My Mood
    Curmudgeon
    I really hope he works out for the team. For a guy who was potentially going to be drafted high to fall to UDFA status, he's clearly got a lot to be thankful for to the Steelers for taking a chance on him.

    If he takes advantage of the opportunities he's given, he could be the next big thing.

  3. #3
    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Fort Myers Beach
    Posts
    5,775
    44 needs to replace 85 this week and every week.

  4. #4
    Head Coach LatrobePA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    THIS IS MY HOUSE BITCHES
    Posts
    12,320
    Quote Originally Posted by coldrolled View Post
    44 needs to replace 85 this week and every week.
    82
    "Happy Happy Happy"

  5. #5
    Assistant Coach steelchamp204's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    4,041
    Welcome Wes where you will learn how to pass block and get a pass thrown to you once or twice per game. Just ask Heath Miller

  6. #6
    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Fort Myers Beach
    Posts
    5,775
    Quote Originally Posted by LatrobePA View Post
    82
    wasnt he 44 ??

    ok.. 82 needs to replace 85 now....

  7. #7
    Veteran connecticutsteel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    southern connecticut
    Posts
    2,703
    My Mood
    Manic
    Yes he was 44 ,Cotchery wanted 89 so Wes got 82 instead of 44. I think that he has enough talent to suceed especially in the recieving catagory

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. 2008 Opponents
    By DIESELMAN in forum Steelers Talk
    Replies: 48
    Last Post: 04-09-2008, 08:41 AM
  2. A tough road for Clark..**Update 3/4/08
    By DIESELMAN in forum Steelers Talk
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 03-05-2008, 09:57 AM
  3. This Steelers team flat out sucks on the road this year...
    By Troyisabeast_43 in forum Steelers Talk
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-19-2007, 07:31 PM
  4. Why can't Willie get it going on the road?
    By AZ_Steeler in forum Steelers Talk
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 11-20-2006, 02:49 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •