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Former NFL player faces pimping trial

A 19-year-old woman testified Monday that former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Richard Seigler spent several months last year persuading her to become a prostitute, and took the first $450 she earned.

“He said that was a good start,” Deanna Engel told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Pro-Tem Nathaniel Reed, who ordered Seigler bound over for trial July 10 on felony charges of pandering, providing transportation for a prostitute and living from the earnings of a prostitute.

Seigler’s defense lawyer, Stephen Stein, called it “absurd” to think an NFL player earning $450,000 a year would work on the side as a pimp or live off the earnings of a prostitute.

“He didn’t force her,” Stein said.

The lawyer cast Engel as a jilted, celebrity-struck lover.

Seigler, 26, did not take the stand during his preliminary hearing. He pleaded not guilty May 17 to the charges. He remains free on $9,000 bail.

“The truth will be brought to light,” Seigler said outside court.

Engel, who lives in Cheney, Wash., testified that she recently received a cell phone text message from Seigler with one letter: “Y.” She said she did not respond.

Seigler said later he thought he might have sent the message to Engel by mistake.

Engel told the court she was still in high school when she met Seigler on an Internet Web page in May 2006.

Seigler, of Las Vegas, turned himself into authorities in Pittsburgh in May after a warrant was issued in Las Vegas for his arrest. He played for Oregon State from 2000 through 2003, and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2004. He went to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005, was cut in 2006, but returned to the Steelers practice squad. He was released after his arrest.

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