Former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Chris Samuels left big shoes to fill at both Alabama (when he left for the NFL) and Washington (when he retired from the Redskins following a career-ending injury), both literally and metaphorically. Now the lineman is hoping he can fill some shoes that come with slightly smaller expectations back in his home state.
According to the Mobile Press-Register (with a tip of the cap to the Washington Post's Cindy Boren), Samuels has agreed to become the offensive coordinator for Mobile's Blount (Ala.) High football team. The longtime pro agreed to take on the role after reaching out to longtime high school and college teammate Kevin Sigler, who is the now Blount's head coach.
"He just said that if he got an opportunity, he'd love to come down [to coach]," Sigler told the News. "To have somebody that played on all three levels, it was hard for me to turn down.
"He's not doing it for the money. He basically wants to give to the kids. He really just enjoys working with the kids"
Samuels will have plenty to offer the offensive linemen, though it's unknown what he can bring in terms of orchestrating an entire offense. Long the Redskins' rock on the offensive line, Samuels served as an unpaid coaching intern for the team in the 2010 season, trying to "learn the ropes" under new Redskins head man Mike Shanahan.
While the move from an affiliation with a pro team straight to an assistant job at an Alabama high school may seem like a sudden drop down the career ladder, the move was hardly a shock for Samuels. The lineman actually served as a volunteer assistant with the program last spring before returning to the Redskins.
Technically, he'll still be a volunteer coach in 2011 since he is not a certified teacher. To fulfill the needed interaction with the school to qualify as a volunteer coach, Samuels will also serve as a part-time substitute teacher at the school.
There may be plenty who will question why Samuels is making the move, yet it's very difficult to criticize his motivations. There's absolutely no financial gain for the former lineman, and no promises of future promotions or anything of the sort.
Rather, a player who became rich from the game of football genuinely seems content to try and give back in a way that seemed convenient, where he felt he could make an impact with some teenagers. It certainly has all the hallmarks of a truly noble move for a man who will always be beloved in both Alabama and Washington.