Undrafted out of Wisconsin, safety Chris Maragos signed with San Francisco 49ers in 2010. He spent time on the team and the practice squad, and he was demoted or released multiple times. The final release came on Sept. 3, 2011, under new head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Three weeks later, Maragos joined the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad.
And now, he’s a Super Bowl champion.
Maragos made one tackle in Super bowl XLVIII – a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos – and participated in Seattle’s victory parade, which drew close to one million people on Wednesday.
“It’s kind of hard to put in words exactly what I just experienced,” Maragos said Wednesday night on The MoJo Show, “but it was probably (one of the) top two coolest things I’ve ever done in my life.”
Maragos celebrated the day with his wife, son and mother-in-law.
“I think the coolest thing is when you look at your family who’s kind of been behind the scenes,” Maragos said. “But they’ve kind of been through every step of your career: the highs, the lows, the ins, the outs, the ups, the downs – everything. And so, to really be able to experience (that) and share that with them, that’s really make it all worthwhile.”
Maragos was asked if he had Seattle in mind following his release from the 49ers in 2011.
“No, not really,” he said, laughing. “Nobody wanted me in the league.”
Yet, Seattle was concerned about its depth in the secondary, ironically enough, and brought Maragos in for a workout.
“I had a really great workout, and it just was a great fit,” Maragos said. “I’ve been here three years now with the team.”
Maragos is yet another player on Seattle’s nobody-wanted-us defense. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were both fifth-round picks, while Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith was a seventh-rounder.
That’s made for a quite bond in the the locker room.
“Absolutely,” Maragos said. “The cool thing is, nobody’s been handed anything. Maybe they did in college, but coming into the NFL, nobody really got handed anything. Guys know what it takes to work. They know what it takes to have an edge to them. They know what it takes to play with strain and grit and effort, and that’s really what symbolizes pretty much every single guy on our roster. And if you don’t have it, we weed it out pretty quick. It’s a great group of guys . . . (who) loves to play football. They love to play football, (and) they love playing with each other.”
That includes Russell Wilson, who in 2012 was a third-round pick – 70-plus selections behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
“He’s such a unique guy; he’s got such a great balance to him,” Maragos said. “He knows when to get excited. He knows when he needs to just kind of take a step back and observe the situation. He’s a tireless worker. He’s in there all the time. He’s always perfecting his craft and working hard at it. He’s just done such a great job of really showcasing and displaying that template to the rest of the guys on the team.
“Obviously he’s one of our leaders. the message he sent with his personality and style of play has really caught fire with the guys who have really bought into that, and it’s really spread to really our whole roster. You see guys taking that same approach he has – and obviously that’s paid off big dividends for us.”