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Maragos adjusting to NFL life

October 12, 2010

MADISON — Nothing ever came easy in the collegiate career of former Wisconsin free safety Chris Maragos. So why would the NFL be any different?

After impressing scouts at UW Pro Day in March and earning individual workouts with a few teams, Maragos had hopes of being a late-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Three days, seven rounds and 255 picks later, Maragos never heard his name called.

Within hours of the end of the draft, he received phone calls from a handful of teams, and quickly signed on with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent.

Once the season rolled around and rosters were slimmed down, Maragos found himself on the 49ers practice squad, where he has been for the first five weeks of the season.

After the end of a long day of practice last week, BadgerBlitz.comcaught up with the former Badger. The following is a question and answer with Maragos.

How’s life in the NFL been for the past five months?

Maragos: It’s good. You know, it’s a lot different than college, it’s a whole different dynamic. I think the NFL is a very interesting dynamic of football just with all the different things that come along with it.

It’s an unbelievable game at this level, and the type of athletes out here is extremely competitive. I always try to correlate different things with different experiences in my life, and when you’re a high school senior going in as a freshman at a Division I program, it’s a big jump and you’re like, ‘Wow, there’s all these great players around.’ But as you continue to progress you begin to see how you can have an impact.

When you go from college to the pros, it’s an even bigger jump than from high school to college. You’re around the best athletes in the world, and that’s what you want to be a part of. It’s fun for me to be able to go out there and compete and play alongside so many great players and really just wait for my time to contribute to help this team win.

Do you feel like you’re getting close to making the jump from the practice squad to the 49ers’ active roster?

Maragos: Yeah, I definitely think I’m close. I think it’s a thing that is close and I really feel confident in my ability. I know I can compete and I know I can play at this level. That’s not a question at all. So, I think it’s really just a matter of time before I get an opportunity.

Just like Western Michigan or Wisconsin, anything like that, I’ve just got to be ready to make the most of my opportunity.

What would you say are the best and worst aspects of being an NFL free safety?

Maragos: I think the best thing about the NFL is that it does raise your game and your knowledge of the game to a whole higher level. Physically, I’m a much better player after just being in the NFL for just a few months. I can already see how my game has taken off just because of the level of competition and how you need to raise the level of your game.

Some of the drawbacks and some of the negatives, I think at the University of Wisconsin we had such a fun time. We had a great group of guys that was fun.

And it’s not that we don’t have that in San Francisco, but in college it’s such a different dynamic because there’s money involved in the NFL. Your best friend might be here one day and he’s not here the next day, versus college where you can really develop a lot of relationships.

Guys are older in the NFL, they have families, they have kids, so when practice is done they go home to their families. Whereas in college, guys are hanging out, they’re going out to eat, they’re playing video games together, whatever it is.

As a member of the practice squad, what is your daily routine like?

Maragos: Well let’s see, we come in on Mondays after the game, we’ll come in and lift, and then we’ll have a Bible study that’s optional for guys to attend. After that, then we’ll have a special teams meeting where we go through the film of the game, and then we have a positional meeting where we also go through the film of the game. That usually goes until about 2:30, and then we’re done for that day.

Tuesday’s are our off days, and Wednesday we have a lift in the morning, then special teams meeting and then we go into our position groups meetings. We go through a walk-through, then we have lunch, and then we go from lunch to more meetings. After that we go out to practice and then we usually get a little film in after practice. That’s usually what Wednesday, Thursday and Friday look like.

If it’s a home game, we’ll have a little walk-through on Saturday just to go through last-minute corrections. If it’s an away game, then the team is usually traveling on Saturday. Then of course, Sunday is game day.

What is game day like for you as a inactive member of the team?

Maragos: It’s different, but you know, it’s funny because it really reminds me a lot of a redshirt season. You’re a part of the team as much as anybody, but you’re not contributing at all on the field.

I’ve looked at it just like I did in college before I was getting my opportunities. If I can’t be out there physically on the field helping this team win, then I need to be in practice busting my butt, giving them the best look or doing the best things that I can do to help this team win on Sundays.

That’s just my way of contributing right now, when I get my opportunities, then I’ll be ready to produce on the field.

How has life been off the field, moving from the Midwest to the West Coast?

Maragos: Life’s good, man. It’s phenomenal. The weather out here is unbelievable, it’s great. The area that we’re living in is just a great area to be in. There’s a lot of things that it has to offer. It’s just a blast being out here with my wife, Serah, and just getting an opportunity to be with her and really just enjoy that.

Our training facility and our workout facility is actually down in San Jose, so that’s where we’re living. We actually live about 40 minutes outside of San Francisco. We play our games up there, but our training facility is kind of a ways away.

Everything is going pretty well, though. So, I can’t complain.

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