On a recent podcast, Tennessee Titans tackle Taylor Lewan welcomed his former high school guidance counselor, who just so happens to now be the general manager of "possibly the coolest franchise" in the NFL.
The latest episode of "Bussin' With The Boys," hosted by Lewan and former Raiders linebacker Will Compton, featured Raiders General Manager Dave Ziegler, and the Pro Bowl offensive lineman and GM quickly got to talking about their history together.
Ziegler was a guidance counselor at Lewan's alma mater of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the late 2000s. Along with his role as a guidance counselor, he served as the football team's special teams coordinator, running backs coach and tight ends coach.
"I think my experience of being a teacher and being a guidance counselor, not being in the NFL right away, has given me some perspective," said Ziegler. "I'm truly grateful and appreciative to have the job that I have and I try to carry that attitude into work every day.
"Being consistent, treating people the right way, having a positive attitude, not making the moment too big and letting the job get too big and kind of overwhelming. ... For me, it's all given me perspective of my past experiences of what my attitude is and how I look at the job and how I handle the job, because you can get overwhelmed."
Despite the season not going the way he liked – as the Raiders finished with a 6-11 record, losing nine games by one score or less – he remains optimistic moving into his second season as an NFL general manager.
And he refuses to let the daunting task of bringing success to Las Vegas engulf him. He's ready for the challenge.
"I tell myself a lot, 'Dude, you're the GM of the Raiders. You were a guidance counselor. Keep things in perspective, keep it level and enjoy the moment,'" said Ziegler. "Because of that mindset ... my decisions aren't driven by just trying to stay alive. The fact that I got to this position and I have this job is kind of wild to think, compared to where we were in 2008, so I don't let fear of failure or of being fired drive decisions.
"We're going to swing and we also have a vision of how we want to do things. We're just going to go and I believe it's going to work. That's why I'm going to do things I way I do them. I believe we're going to win here. I believe we're going to build something that's going to compete for championships and ultimately, get us to where we want to go."
Take a look back at the Raiders throughout the community during the 2022 year.