Today, we catch up with linebacker John Offerdahl, selected in the second round (52nd overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft out of Western Michigan, and punter/tight end Larry Seiple, selected in the seventh round (163rd overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft out of Kentucky.
What stands out to you the most from your Draft Day experience?
Larry Seiple: “You want me to remember that far back? The memory I have the most about then is that I was called by Buffalo very early on the second day and their pick was coming up and they said they were thinking about drafting me at that time. That would have been in the sixth round but that came and went and they didn’t do it. So I found out on a call with Miami that they had drafted me and of course it all worked out for me.”
Where were you on Draft Day?
Offerdahl: “I was at my house with my family. I played at Western Michigan and grew up in Wisconsin so I was very pleased to have the opportunity to go down to South Florida and play for a team with Shula and Marino. I really thought seriously, ‘Man, I’m in the Super Bowl baby.’ Little did I know I’d never get there. Sorry guys, but it was still a blessed moment. I got to come down with Jill Leiber from Sports Illustrated for my first rookie camp and that whole experience was unbelievable, just the ride of my life.”
Seiple: “I was in an apartment with my wife at the University of Kentucky. Let’s see, I had just finished playing my senior year and there were a couple of us that thought we might get drafted but we weren’t sure. The first day comes up and you don’t get drafted you’re a little disappointed. At that time they had 17 rounds and they did like the first four or five on the first day and then they did the rest of them the next day. I had been drafted in the seventh round so I was the second day and if I remember correctly we were just sitting by the phone waiting for phone calls. It wasn’t televised so there was no way of knowing who was up other than if you had it on the radio but I’m not even sure of that.”
What did you do in preparation to help your draft position as far as special workouts, etc.?
Offerdahl: “I worked out on my own. To prepare for the draft we had a big bratwurst fry the night before so I was nice and ready. I had a lot of fat content in my tummy by the time I came down there to Florida. No, we did have the Combine back in Indianapolis and that was to prepare for the draft.”
Seiple: “They didn’t have any places to go to prepare for the draft. There wasn’t even a Combine back then so we worked out on our own. We had obviously our own workout facility right there at the University of Kentucky and you worked out on your own and you did what you had to do. I can’t even remember if scouts even came around to be honest with you because that was so long ago.”
Was there something about your interviews with prospective coaches before the draft that stood out?
Offerdahl: “By that time they knew I was one of five kids with four older sisters and had a problem finding my own masculinity, so they knew all of those things. They prodded me plenty. I played the French Horn. I had four older sisters. My God don’t recruit that guy. He’s high risk."
Seiple: "They didn’t do interviews back then like they do now. They did everything off of film work and if they came around to different schools it was scouts only and that was it so no interviews.”
How did you celebrate being drafted?
Offerdahl: “This is all documented by Sports Illustrated but I had family and friends amounting to probably 40 or 50 people. We stayed up the night before and played cards and all slept on the family room floor. We woke up the next morning, put ESPN on and got to watch the draft together, It was just a group of people that loved each other and I was really pleased to have shared that with all of my friends and in a way get it captured and documented by that Sports Illustrated article. So that was real neat for me.”
Seiple: “We went out and celebrated. There was a bunch of guys from Kentucky that were drafted like Bob Winfield and some that went as free agents. So we all went out with our wives and our girlfriends and we celebrated a little bit.”
What advice would you give to this year’s class of draft choices?
Offerdahl: “It’s just a special time and one that you should embrace. Too many times I see these people screw up an opportunity of a lifetime when they’re in the crosshairs of greatness and it gets to their head and they blow it. So at the end of the day enjoy that moment but realize it’s just the beginning of another career and one that has high expectations for you to perform. Get ready, get serious and get nervous. As Coach Shula used to say to me, ‘Are you nervous?’ I’d say, ‘Absolutely,’ and he’d say, ‘You better be.’ You better be nervous, man. This is the game.”
Seiple: “I think they’ve got to get in training camp early and use their head and plan and have a goal for what they want to do and how they want to compete and make sure they compete on every snap, even in practice. Don’t think that just because you were drafted you’ve made the team. You haven’t made the team yet so you have to work your tail off to be able to prove the coaches and to the veterans and to the head coach that your worthy of the draft choice.”