<span>Garrett Hartley/Paul Spicer.aspx">Paul Spicer knows how to succeed on the road less traveled.
Coming out of high school, Spicer was not a highly recruited prospect, so he settled to attend College of Dupage, a junior college in Illinois. However, after two years there, financial issues forced him to transfer to a Division II school where he could receive a scholarship. "I had to go to a D-II school because of money," said Spicer, "but couldn't go to a top D-II school because they were in the playoffs at the time."
Spicer, though, soon found his next home at Saginaw Valley State University. "The coaches at Saginaw kept up with me," said Spicer, "and they really made me feel comfortable going to school there." Those coaches were richly rewarded as Spicer set a school record with 21.5 sacks in his senior season.
When he graduated as a Junior College All-American in 1995, Spicer was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Seahawks. However, his tenure in Seattle was short-lived; and Spicer went north to play in the Canadian Football League for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders undeterred by his setback in Seattle.
"The CFL was a humbling experience," said Spicer, "but I was upbeat because I knew I could make it in the NFL after my time with Seattle. The CFL still is football, and I wanted to make a living out of playing the game that I love."
Whereas many people would resign themselves to failure after being cut, Spicer channeled his emotions into a positive attitude that led to him landing a spot on the Detroit Lions practice squad soon thereafter. "Being cut is never going to be a good feeling," said Spicer, "but ultimately when I was playing against the best, I knew I could hold my own. So, I just worked my butt off to make it."
Detroit signed Spicer after a workout for them, and he was activated to game action after a short time on the team. However, his time in Detroit ended as he was released the following training camp after he suffered an injury. "When you're on the bubble of making a team," continued Spicer, "having an injury in camp basically guarantees getting cut."
Spicer's optimistic attitude was soon rewarded as he was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad after a tryout. "My agent stayed on top of things," said Spicer, "and he was able to get me a tryout where I was able to show my ability to make it."
Spicer went on to have a very productive nine years in Jacksonville where his leadership and hard work became famous throughout the league. In 2005, he was recognized by his peers from the Jaguars and received the Ed Block Courage Award, which awards a player who is a source of inspiration and courage to his teammates.
"It was a great honor because it tells you something about the man," Spicer said, "because it is fellow teammates voting for that prestigious award. I have never acted better than anyone, and I try to treat everyone from the kitchen staff to the owner with the same level of respect that each person deserves."
After nine years, Spicer and the Jaguars parted ways, which was tough for Spicer because of his attachment to the franchise and the city. "It was hard leaving Jacksonville," said Spicer. "I didn't want to leave, but when Coach Jack Del Rio called, I told him I appreciated my opportunity there. I said my good-byes and moved on. I had planned on retiring there and living the rest of my life there, but it just didn't work out that way."
However, as soon as he heard the news from Jacksonville, Spicer immediately had playing for the Saints in his mind. "If the Saints wanted me," continues Spicer, "I wanted to be here because I want to go to the Super Bowl. With the new additions, including me, and the remaining players, I feel like we could do it."
Moreover, Spicer believes in the Saints' capability even more strongly after spending some time here. "There's total commitment here toward that goal," said Spicer. "Being here, I see that the whole team is on the same page and focused together about getting to the Super Bowl."
Looking back, it has been quite the path for Garrett Hartley/Paul Spicer.aspx">Paul Spicer. He has had ups and downs, but there was never a lack of motivation for number 95. "I've always been a hard worker since high school," said Spicer. "And I've kept that attitude everywhere I've played."
Spicer, though, is not quite at his final destination yet, so his dedication for a seemingly never-ending will continues here for the Saints. Spicer finished with a pledge as to what Saints' fans will see out of him.
"Every game the fans will see me give my all, bust my butt, and will my body to its absolute limits on every play."</span>