Like a forgotten soldier in war, Antonio Pierce has well and truly missed the boat.
We've seen it before in the NFL, players getting left behind in the pool of free agency while their once loyal team moves on to bigger and better things. But for Antonio Pierce, the recent departure from the New York Giants left many people gobsmacked and wondering just where and when his presence will be felt in the NFL.
From a Super Bowl Champion, to an unemployed footnote in the history of the NFL, Antonio Pierce is no longer the loud, motivated, and pumped up middle linebacker that we grew to know and love.
Now Antonio finds himself looking through the 31 remaining NFL teams that may take pity on his situation, and offer him that ever so promising contract that allows him to still play in the league he once loved and cherished.
In his time with the Arizona Wildcats back in his college days, Pierce wan't exactly dominant, but he wasn't bad either. It seems that the game of football has always been intent on more or less screwing Antonio Pierce over. After all, he was deemed to undersized by NFL scouts when originally attempting to the enter the NFL Draft back in 2001.
Now we arrive at modern day times. Jobless, questionably talented, and still ready to play football.
But who is willing to sign the 238-pound linebacker out of Ontario, California? Well, let the speculation begin.
For the majority, most folks believe that Pierce will never find a new home and will join the likes of Shaun Alexander as he tries endlessly, year-after-year to get a foot-in-the-door of any NFL team's head office.
Personally though, I try and see the good in everyone, and Antonio Pierce is no exception. With only one sack to his name in 2009, Antonio Pierce makes it hard for any NFL writer to put forward a convincing argument as to why he should still spend time in the NFL.
However, there is a hefty need for linebackers at the current time, and with Joey Porter recently signing to the Arizona Cardinals, surely lesser-performing teams would be willing to take a gamble with Antonio Pierce.
Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, or even Washington could all benefit from Antonio Pierce's presence. When looking at Antonio Pierce statistically, there is no real category that stands out as a potential point to earn Pierce a new home in 2010.
With that said, it doesn't discount the fact that Pierce does have some experience to his name and has been on a Super Bowl winning team. Give him some time and he may just come around. The biggest problem for Pierce though is whether or not a team is willing to gamble on signing him.
Yes, the boat may have sailed, but there are the materials to build a raft and get to safety for Antonio Pierce. A little patience, maybe a year or two on the bench, and perhaps the opportunity will arise to reach the starting position and take another crack at this whole NFL gimmick.
In the meantime, the free agency list is dwindling down and when the going gets tough, some teams will sign even the most desperate of players. Antonio Pierce arguably falls into this category, but hey, it could at least earn him a place in the NFL still right?