Former NFL player Steve Niehaus of the Seattle Seahawks made a surprise visit to the fith-sixth grade North Adams vs. West Union football game on Saturday, September 12.
Niehaus sat on the sidelines and watched the entire game with long-time friend Shawn Hudgel whose son plays on the North Adams team.
Hudgel said that he had spoken with Niehaus about the community’s efforts to get football established in Adams County. “He offered to come out and talk to the kids,” said Hudgel.
Following the game North Adams coach Anthony Rhoden, invited the boys and coaches from West Union to stay for a sit down with Niehaus.
The former NFL player talked to the players about his own career and gave them a pickup speech about what the future might hold for them as football players. He took questions from the players, parents, and coaches.
“I appreciated Steve coming down to talk to the teams and inspiring them to give it their all, not just in football, but in life. I hope the boys know with hard work and discipline anything is possible,” said Coach Rhoden.
In 1976, the Seahawks had the second pick overall in the NFL Draft and used it to select Niehaus, an All American defensive tackle from Notre Dame. Niehaus started every game for the 2-12 Seahawks as a rookie, registering a club-high 9.5 sacks among his 90 tackles to be named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year. But a series of knee injuries limited him to eight starts over the next two seasons and eventually ended his career.
Today Niehaus lives and works in Cincinnati.