Sebastian Vollmer: From Düsseldorf To A Second Super Bowl

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“I must have spoken to fifty college coaches about this kid who I thought had a chance to really be a player and couldn’t get anyone to take him,” said Reinebold. “Why would they travel all way to Germany to see an offensive lineman when they have those players at home?

“I begged the University of Maine, where I’d played, telling them they’d never get a kid like this. They thought about it, but nobody would pull the trigger.

“The issue was, and still is, that people compare players on film with their U.S. players and the quality of opposition. I asked coaches just to watch him and not the opposition because you could see he had the ability.”

When a group of American coaches, which included current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, were in Germany to assist at a clinic for developing European players, Reinebold made his move. Vollmer was playing in an all-star game a few miles away and Reinebold took some of the coaches to watch.

Thomas McGaughey (now special teams coach with the San Francisco 49ers) was at Houston and we’d worked together. I took him along and the moment he and the other coaches saw Sebastian play, they went straight to their phones and made calls back to the states telling their people they had to sign this kid!”

Vollmer was selected for Team Europe to play against similar all-star teams from Canada, Japan, Mexico and the United States at the NFL Global Junior Championship in San Diego. Played annually during the week of Super Bowl in the host city, the tournament organized by Global Football regularly attracted intrigued college coaches.

Vollmer wanted to play at Louisiana Tech, where Reinebold landed following his long stint in NFL Europe, but Houston got their man after the event.

2003 Global Junior Championship V11

Vollmer with Team Europe at 2003 Global Junior Championship

Steve McCusker, who was a member of the Scottish Claymores coaching staff and currently coaches with the East Kilbride Pirates, also saw that nasty streak in Vollmer when he was his Team Europe position coach.

“He was the best athlete we had by far,” remembers McCusker. “He was big and ox-strong and had that glean in his eye and that aggressive streak that you really like. He was big and athletic, moved his feet and really annoyed the heck out of the defense.

“We had a couple of weekend camps and 10 days of practice at the tournament so I coached him for about 20 days and he was a joy to coach. He probably only understood half of what was said because of the language barrier, but he knew what was expected of him.

“You could tell that if he got a couple of breaks he would do well. We scouted him in 2000 at the European Junior Championship in Berlin and a regional tournament before that and invited him to camp with Team Europe. As soon as you saw him mash people all over the place you knew he was a natural tackle for sure.”

Once settled in at the University of Houston, Vollmer did not make an immediate impression, as Reinebold explains as he resumes the story.

“I went back his freshman year and they said he was a great kid but he was so far behind. They tried him at tight end and defensive line, but he just needed time. He played against us when I was coaching at SMU and that’s when I knew he was going to make it.”

And make it Vollmer did.

Reinebold and Vollmer were reunited this week at the Patriots media availability during the build up to Super Bowl XLIX. Come Sunday, one will play before millions across the world at the pinnacle of his career, while the other watches and analyzes proudly from the broadcast booth.

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Michael Preston
Michael Preston (@PRMikePreston) is working his 19th Super Bowl as a member of the NFL PR team and has held communications positions with NFL Europe, the North American Soccer League, IFAF and the United Football League. He handles media relations for Global Football and his debut novel, The Silver Skeleton, is available through Amazon.
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