Originally created 05/14/00

Journey winding for Stallion



His newest job title says Augusta Stallions wide receiver/defensive back. But that's not even close to explaining who 31-year-old Chris Siegfried is.

In the world of constantly updating the resume, Siegfried has probably been wearing out his Kinko's card.

Start with earning a degree at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. With no sniffs coming from the NFL, Siegfried tried out for the Arena Football's Orlando Predators. He signed but played sparingly, backing up Barry Wagner, Arena Football's Jerry Rice.

That's 1992. He joined the Miami Hooters in 1993; they folded a year later.

Siegfried heard about a new start-up spring football league in Taipei, Taiwan, and tried out. There were two teams, and they played in two exhibition scrimmages leading up to what he called "The Big Game." No $363 million jackpots, though.

"They promised us the world," Siegfried recalled before the Stallions met up with the Arkansas Twisters on Saturday night.

"And what I've learned is that the more these spring football leagues promise you in money, the sooner they fold."

The elaborate plans for the Taiwan league evaporated quickly, forcing Siegfried to look for work again.

"That was the longest six months of my life," he said.

Back from the Far East, Siegfried found football employment with the Canadian Football League. In Baltimore. Soon, they go bankrupt, too.

Oh, this story gets better.

Out of football again, Siegfried heard about a dinner theater show in Orlando. Dinner theater? you ask -- it was the American Gladiators, based on the television show.

No, he wasn't a gladiator named Titan or Thunder or Laser. Have you seen Siegfried lately? He's maybe 5-foot-9, maybe 185 pounds. Russell Crowe's bigger than that, isn't he?

For 2' years, Siegfried played the role of gladiator challenger, you know, those guys in the red or yellow tank tops and shorts who'd get pummeled by gladiators in the joust and the gauntlet.

"You want to talk about a great job," Siegfried said. "I'd wake up at noon, watch some TV for a couple of hours, go to the gym at 4, get to the arena about 6:30, stretch, the show started at 7:40 and we'd be done by 9:15. All of '96, that's all I did.

"We actually figured out that we really worked six minutes a day in actual competition. That's the good life."

Siegfried met his wife, Tammi, then. She was his gladiator challenging teammate. They celebrate their anniversary each year by dodging tennis balls fired at them.

The gladiators closed, too. So Chris and Tammi both tried out for RollerJam and made the cut. But as that became more like WWF and less like Roller Derby, the two opted out.

Chris's next resume line: The Waterboy, starring Adam Sandler.

A casting call at the University of Central Florida brought the Siegfrieds out for the two-day tryout to become football extras. Chris has a little heartthrob quality to him, so acting did not seem like too much of a stretch.

He joined the football unit, which ran the plays throughout the movie. Tammi got cast as a cheerleader.

"I could be on the sidelines for one team, and be celebrating in the end zone for another, all in the same scene," Siegfried said.

Siegfried earned his Screen Actors Guild entry when he ran a slant across the middle, only to be clotheslined by a menacing linebacker. Rent the movie and look for the Stallion among the credits.

"We had to do that scene eight times," said Siegfried, who continues to receive residual checks for his screen debut. "By the third time, my neck was numb."

Tammi helped Chris find work with Delta Air Lines in the baggage claim department, where he works once or twice a month at Orlando International Airport.

"If you lose your luggage, the guy that you scream at, that's me," he said.

He was appraising real estate around Orlando when he started researching the creation of arenafootball2. Out of football for five years, Siegfried received a phone call from an old friend last December.

Stallions defensive coordinator Brett Munsey, a Predators teammate way back in '92, wondered whether Siegfried still had the football bug biting.

"Get me up there, and I'll make it work," Siegfried told Munsey. The receiver tried out and is now a Stallions cornerstone, having caught 35 passes through five games.

Oh, and he hasn't stopped working. When he's not playing football, he's helping the Boy Scouts of America with fund-raising.

Siegfried needs to avoid those Help Wanted signs.

Reach Rick Dorsey at (706) 823-3219.