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Piercing Playmaker

It might take the rest of the league till the end of the season to find out what teams in the NFC East have known since 2004: Antonio Pierce is one of the best middle linebackers in the league. Problem is he's had to work seven times as hard as first-round, high-pedigree MLBs like Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis to gain notoriety.

That's what happens when all 32 teams in all seven rounds snub you during the draft. For Pierce, not being drafted in the 2001 NFL Draft was like watching 246 kids being picked ahead of him on the playground. It was a feeling of worthlessness. A stinging reminder that no one thought he was good enough on which to even take a late-round flier. After making eye-popping plays at The University of...

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