The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

July 13, 2014

Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide

— Most Limestone residents associate Chris Seibert as an Athens city councilman and state senate candidate. But before the 38-year old West Limestone native entered politics, he spent time on the gridiron in Tuscaloosa.

“It took perseverance for sure,” remembers Seibert. “You had to have confidence in your ability to be out there. They did everything they could to make it a challenge to stay (on the team). For me, it would have been hard if I hadn’t grown up an Alabama fan.”

A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.

“It was a challenge,” said Seibert. “They took 200 videos of people that wanted to walk on and cut that to 30. They let 30 of us on the team. Out of that, nine of us made it all  four years. I remember getting out there my first couple of practices and being sort of in awe. I had been watching these guys on TV — Antonio Langham, Jay Barker. Then you settle in and realize that they are good players, but so am I. You realize that this is not an impossible situation.”

When Seibert joined the team, Alabama had just won its first national championship since 1979. An outside linebacker, Seibert was competing for playing time against Dwayne Rudd and Ralph Staten, who both went on to play in the NFL.

“I’ll never forget intercepting Barker in my first preseason camp,” said Seibert. “I intercepted him and was running it back and I all I could think was, ‘I just picked off Jay Barker.’ I didn’t want to let go of that ball.”

During Seibert’s four years at the Capstone, Alabama made three appearances in the SEC championship game, losing to Florida each time.

“The best team I played on was that ‘94 team,” said Seibert. “We lost one game, by 1 point in the SEC championship and lost everything. That was tough.”

During Seibert’s playing career, Alabama went 39-10-1, winning the SEC West three out of four years. Competing for playing time against NFL-caliber talent, Seibert finally lettered his senior season.

“I grew up a huge Alabama fan,” said Seibert. “I wanted to see if I could make it and I’m proud to have lettered my last year. It puts you in a select club. I’m extremely proud of that.”

Seibert was an All-County, All-Area and All-State honorable mention selection at West Limestone. He became one of the few players from Limestone County to play for the Crimson Tide in the early ‘90s.

“Back then, the county rivalries were much bigger than today,” said Seibert. “The East-West game was much bigger. Winning the county meant something, because there weren’t the size gaps between the schools you have today. Nobody was really coming (to Alabama) from Limestone County. When I got there Shane Craft from Athens was graduating.”

Seibert remains involved in sports as a fan and by coaching his two boys, Ben and Brock.


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