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Where Are They Now? Former Rams DB & Super Bowl XXXIV Champion Rich Coady

With his dad, Rich, having played center with the Chicago Bears for five seasons, 1970-74; when Rich Coady was drafted by the Rams out of Texas A&M in 1999, he was, well, following him into the family business.

"They weren't one of the teams that I thought was going to draft me. So it was a little bit of a surprise," Coady said. "I remember quickly going to the roster and thinking, 'Man, there's not a lot of guys on this roster I've even heard of.' I didn't really know what I was getting into. They weren't an established team at the time. I think they were coming off of a 4-12 year.

"And going through the draft process, I didn't really talk to anybody in their organization. The Rams just weren't one of the teams that if I was ranking my top 10 to 15 teams, that I was going to be drafted by. Just a lot of uncertainty, probably."

Following the Draft, Coady became a little more certain during his trip from Texas to St. Louis' mini-camp, when instead of leafing through a magazine, he received a crash course on everything Rams.

"I was very, very fortunate," Coady said. "(NFL veteran) Greg Hill, who was a running back at A&M, we flew up there on the same plane. He came over and introduced himself and then proceeded to tell me about life in the NFL and things I should know. And then when I got into the locker room, he made sure that he introduced me to a majority of veterans.

"Greg didn't make the team that year, he was traded to the Lions, but he was definitely nice going there and getting kind of his spiel of the NFL, his feel of the St. Louis Rams, and then him introducing me to those guys."

Coady's introduction to the NFL was from mostly playing on special teams and some spot duty at safety. And during the Rams' Week 7 game against Cleveland, he was in the right spot at the right time and collected his first interception.

"It was against Tim Couch, who was the first-overall pick that year. They were having to throw to catch up and he threw a fade on the sideline and I was able to chase it down and pick it off," Coady said.

"And it was it was interesting because maybe the third or fourth game that year, somebody on the sideline made a comment, 'Hey, when we get up so much, when do the backups go in?' And a veteran looked over and was like, 'This is the NFL. You never get up enough to where backups go in.' But sure enough, we started beating teams by a considerable margin and I got into games."

Coady couldn't have picked a better time to join the Rams. Arriving in St. Louis seemingly with his fingers crossed while holding the rabbit's foot, four-leaf clover and a horseshoe, he was lucky enough to be on a team that had a six- and a seven-game winning streak, finish with a 13-3 record, and a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV.


"Yeah, an incredible rookie year. Like stuff dreams are made of," Coady said. "(Third-year quarterback) Trent (Green) gets hurt (during the preseason) and people said any hope that the organization had was squashed at that point. And then here comes Kurt (Warner) and you get this Cinderella story.

"You know, if you look at that team, there are just some of the best football players in the history of the NFL, and some just incredibly great men. When you have a culture like that in the locker room, and then you have some talent like that on the field, it's easy to see why that team was so successful for so long. Just a really, really good group of guys who were very unselfish. And then you add in the fact that you got five or six (Hall of Fame) gold jackets out of that group, it's pretty incredible."

While the Rams beat Tennessee, 23-16, to earn the Lombardi Trophy, the whole experience was and was not new to Coady.

"I'd gone as a fan to three Super Bowls growing up, so I kind of had been around it and saw it from the outside," he said. "But as far as just the magnitude of it, the entire week leading up to it, and all the hype and all the hoopla and all the notoriety, I remember getting phone calls from people I hadn't talked to in 10 years. It's one of those things because it's such an event, it just draws so much attention to it, that to be able to play in it was obviously very special."

After playing three seasons, Coady was ready to keep rolling. His ankle, however, not so much. An injury at the end of the 2001 campaign led to two surgeries during the offseason and then another procedure during training camp. He would be released by the Rams.

But never say never.

"You're like, 'OK, well, clearly he's firing me.' But Coach (Mike) Martz said, 'Look, if I knew you were healthy, you have a spot here.' And so fast forward, I get picked up and played for the Titans for a year. And then as a free agent, I ended up going to Indianapolis because my old defensive back coach at St. Louis, Ron Meeks, was the defense coordinator there. I thought it'd be a great opportunity," Coady said.

"And then sure enough, we get halfway through training camp and Coach (Tony) Dungy called me in and said, 'We just got a phone call from the Rams and they're wanting to trade for you and we decided to make that trade.'

"I was excited to be with my teammates again. So it was, for me, all positive. I knew what I was getting into. I knew the coaching staff. I knew the scheme. I was really excited when I found out I was getting traded back to St. Louis."

Over two stints, Coady was with the Rams for five seasons, playing in 69 games with 14 starts. What are among his fondest memories from those days?

"Sure, you remember the games. Sure, you remember some wins or losses, and you remember some plays you made or you didn't make. But ultimately, you remember the people in the locker room and the experiences," Coady said. "I think St. Louis did a really good job and it started with Dick Vermeil. They did a really good job of the culture of the organization all the way down to our equipment guys. It really was kind of a family atmosphere, especially for the core group of guys who was there for that four-to-five-year run.

"The guys who were the leaders of the team were also some of the hardest working guys. There was nobody who put themselves in front of the team. Everybody was treated the same and everybody felt the same. And I think that's why everybody worked so hard to collectively win."

Following football, Coady and two college buddies, Aaron Sherman and Robert Elliott, founded Stillwater Capital in 2009.

"We said we want to start a real estate company and here's what we envisioned it being. But most importantly, we want to enjoy what we do and who we do it with," Coady said of the Dallas-based company. "It started with three guys and we've grown it to 120 people. But we're real selective on who we work with and we really love that camaraderie and that fellowship. We didn't want to feel like we were going to work every day, so to speak. We wanted to feel like we were going to do something that we were passionate about, with people that we enjoyed being around.

"We specialize in building traditional multifamily apartments and single-family homes, and we kind of have a high-end custom home portion of the business. And then in the last four or five years, we've added an industrial platform. That's the bread and butter. We've been lucky enough to get involved in some giant mixed-use deals. Bringing the PGA of America from Florida to Frisco, Texas."

Called The Link, it is a $1 billion, 240-acre project.

"It will consist of true apartments, it'll have office buildings, it'll have retail and restaurants. So it'll be a whole living, breathing district," Coady said. "It's all adjacent to the PGA of America and the two new golf courses that just got built and are set to hold PGA Championships and Ryder Cups. It's just a really, really special project."

Coady, who makes his home in Dallas with his wife, Kelsey, and their children: Quinn and Carter; couldn't enjoy what he's doing more.

"It's just been a lot of fun. It's been fun to see the company grow," he said. "To think about where we were 12 years ago, and where we are today, and then where we'll be in 12 years, it's just… We've had a lot of growth, and a lot of success, and it's been just really fun to be a part of it. No different than some of the success that we had in St. Louis."

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