Having a successful NFL career as a player is a huge accomplishment, and to follow that as a coach in the NFL is no easy task.
That is exactly what the Las Vegas Raiders linebackers coach, Antonio Pierce, is trying to accomplish after spending time as a high school and college coach.
The transition to the NFL has gone “pretty simple,” according to him and thanks to his recent stint at Arizona State as a linebackers coach, he managed to implement what he learned at ASU and throughout his career in Las Vegas.
“For me, it’s a blessing. I’m from LA so when I grew up, the Raiders were playing in Los Angeles at the time,” said Pierce as he now coaches the team he grew up rooting for. “Proud Raider fan here,” he added.
Pierce, who played in the league for nine seasons, always played the game with a coach’s mentality.
But the style of play has changed drastically since he last played in the NFL in 2009.
After retiring from the NFL, he would land a head coaching job at Long Beach Poly High School, a powerhouse in Southern California.
Coaching at four seasons at the high school level, he would work at ESPN as an NFL analyst, before joining Herm Edwards at ASU.
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It was there at ASU, where he learned how to be a “pro coach” and prepare with the new line of linebackers who were heading to the NFL.
Pierce, who was named a Pro Bowler and won a Super Bowl in his career, has ‘been there and done that’ mindset, which is why he gets the attention of players.
“Right away, you get that respect from the group,” Pierce said of being a coach and former player. “But more importantly, it is your work ethic. Giving them information, giving them tidbits that they may not have heard before or physically doing it,” said Pierce.
“I am still in pretty good shape, I can physically do it, so that kind of a blessing for me to go out there and just walk them and talk to them through it. But I think first and foremost, they understand and relate to me. As a former player, but respect at the same time as a coach. “
While his transition to a player’s coach is going smoothly, the most important part of the process is that he is out there communicating and teaching first-hand to a group of eager and ready-to-win linebackers, who are ready to replicate what he did during his NFL career.
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