Prepared for Life After Football, Rigg Chases NFL Dream in Chica - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Prepared for Life After Football, Rigg Chases NFL Dream in Chicago

MORGANTOWN - It was only fitting that Doug Rigg get an invitation to an NFL camp on the same weekend that he graduated from West Virginia University.

The former Mountaineer linebacker, a four-year starter in his time on the field, has prepared himself for his future whether it happens to be in football or not. On Draft weekend, a time that can be stressful and humbling to the best gridiron stars, Rigg was stress-free.

He knew that hearing his name called in the Draft or receiving a phone call from an NFL team in free agency would not keep him from enjoying graduation weekend and the milestone it represented.

“I knew if I didn’t get an opportunity, I would be upset, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world,” Rigg said. “This wasn’t life or death for me. It was more of a dream that I’ve had since I was a young kid that I wanted to fulfill. If it didn’t happen, I was ready to accept it and move on with my life.”

Rigg graduated with a degree in exercise physiology from the WVU School of Medicine with plans to work toward a master’s after he found out what his path may be regarding that dream of NFL football.

His agent had spoken with at least four teams that expressed real interest and ultimately worked out a tryout with the Chicago Bears. His chance at his dream comes this weekend as he attends the team’s minicamp.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Rigg said. “Not many people get this opportunity, so I want to show what I’m capable of and hopefully it’ll open some people’s eyes.”

The Bears didn’t draft any linebackers, but they signed three as free agents once the selection process concluded. After four years starting on defense for WVU, Rigg knows the way he will make a living off of the game is by proving himself in a different phase of the game.

“My mindset is to prove that I can be a big-time special teams player for them,” he said. “I know who their starters [at linebacker] are going to be and I know they aren’t looking for one of us to be starters, so the only way to make the team other than being a starter if you’re not a pass rusher is to play special teams.”

After three concussions in his senior season, Rigg could have easily given up on ever playing football again, much less at the NFL level. Instead, he says, he maintained focus on what he had prepared for ever since he first put on a helmet and shoulder pads and he remained positive that if he deserved an opportunity, he would get it.

“I felt like I got those concussions because I rushed back too quickly from the first one,” Rigg said. “I was hoping the NFL teams would not look at it as a red flag. If they had looked at it as a red flag, it might have been the end of the road, but I knew it wasn’t the end of the road for me.”

Whenever that end of the road does come, Rigg is ready to simply turn off of it and continue down another road. He says he initially wanted to be a physical therapist, but he is leaving his options open as a number of occupations fall under the umbrella of exercise physiology. Whenever he hangs up the helmet and moves on, Rigg will know he has put himself in the best position possible to find success away from the game.

“I feel like football was so demanding of your time and you had to come ready to play every single day, ready to work hard every single day, and that’s going to translate over to the work force,” Rigg said. “The only difference now is I’m not going to be physically working as hard, it’s just coming in with the right mentality every day to get the job done.”

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