Spring 2021 Magazine

Dolphins' Zach Sieler living in an RV and glorifying God after contract extension

Don’t expect to find too many NFL players living in RVs, especially fresh off signing a three-year contract extension, but that’s exactly the case for Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Zach Sieler.

What’s more, he says he doesn’t plan to change his living arrangement anytime soon. The 35-foot, five-wheel RV with two slide-out sides and a back patio is perfect.

“I enjoy it,” Sieler told the Palm Beach Post last week. “For me, it’s easy. It’s simple. Most of my time is with the facility anyways. So I don’t see any point in anything else for now.”

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The 2020 NFL season, Sieler’s third in the league, has been a breakout one for the 25-year-old lineman. He’s played in every game while starting four of them and has amassed 29 tackles, 1.5 sacks and eight hits on the quarterback — all career highs by a wide margin.

The Dolphins’ front office has taken notice, and earlier this month, decided to reward Sieler with an extension that keeps him with the team through the 2023 season.

Sieler has made himself into a vital rotational piece for the fourth-best scoring defense in the NFL. But as his RV home may suggest, Sieler’s path to the NFL was anything but conventional.

During his first two years at tiny Ferris State, a Division II school in Big Rapids, Mich., Sieler struggled to find playing time. But by his third season, Sieler had figured things out. He was a consensus All-American each of his final two seasons at Ferris State and received the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year twice.

The Baltimore Ravens took a chance on him in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft (Sieler was the first player from Ferris State ever drafted into the NFL), but after only two appearances in 2018 and four more in 2019, the Ravens waived him and the Dolphins claimed him on December 5, 2019.

Now, Sieler feels right at home.

“The organization is great from the top down,” Sieler told the Sun-Sentinal last week. “To grow here, and continue with this culture we’re starting to build, I’m very happy to be a part of that.

“The Dolphins, the coaching, the staff, everyone gave me the opportunity to take my game to the next level and grow. … I’m just learning as a player how to become effective.”

Asked how he’s been able to stay focused after his extension, Sieler pointed to those who helped him get to this position.

“For me, it’s about how I was raised, my family, my parents, where I came from,” Sieler told the Palm Beach Post. “I feel like I have a good sense of just never quitting and never giving up. Yeah, things may same bleak or not great, but God will give us an opportunity. I have to turn any negative into a positive. Getting cut and getting claimed here. You can’t feel sorry for yourself.”

 

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A post shared by Zach Sieler (@zsieler95)

 

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A post shared by Zach Sieler (@zsieler95)


Sieler’s teammates and former coaches said the extension was well earned.

“That’s inspiring,” Dolphins cornerback Nik Needham said. “Sieler, he grinds hard every day. You can just see it out there on the field. He’s a monster out there. For him to get that, I’m super proud of him and happy for him. That’s just motivation for sure.”

Sieler’s former coach at Ferris State, Tony Annese, told Big Rapids News, “What’s great about him is he’s one of the hardest working young men I’ve ever been around. He’s also one of the nicest, kindest persons I’ve ever been around.”

So what will Sieler do with the new money? He’s certainly not moving out of his RV. Instead, he said he’ll purchase better equipment and better advertising for Clay Gully Outfitters, a hunting ranch of which he is a part-owner.

Now with a much fuller wallet and a promising future in the NFL, Sieler will seek to continue his impressive play on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in a road game against the New York Jets.

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