Playing in the NFL is a special thing. According to the NCAA, only 1.6% of college players get the chance to play professional football, so every snap is something to be cherished. But when a player gets a chance to come play for his hometown heroes, it’s extraordinary.
So when the opportunity arose for Orland Park native Michael Schofield to play for the Bears, he didn’t pass it up.
“I mean, I always wanted to land here,” Schofield said. “Definitely growing up, obviously I was a pretty big Bear fan. It's a dream come true for sure to be able to play here.”
Schofield is 31 years old and grew up watching the likes of Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. He’ll never forget Devin Hester’s kickoff return at the start of Super Bowl XLI. His first jersey was Mary Booker’s, because he wanted to be a wide receiver growing up.
“I used to be able to catch, and then I put on a lot of weight, so that changed,” Schofield said. “I feel like not many people grow up wanting to be linemen. They all want to start off scoring touchdowns and then get put in the offensive line position.”
So now Schofield’s a guard with a real shot of earning a starting job. That has the entire Schofield family excited.
“It was like I got drafted all over again. They're all gonna come up to camp as much as they can, obviously preseason games they'll be here. My family's big tailgaters, so they'll do that right for sure. It's exciting.”
Even though the opportunity is a dream come true for Schofield, he knows there’s a task at hand, and is eager to get to work.
“We’ve just got to come out every single day with the intensity and intent to get better every single day. If it’s 1% better every single day, that adds up throughout camp. And as the older guys, we need to make sure the younger guys are sticking up with us. We’ve got to push them. We’ve got to push everyone to be on it… Every day we have to have that intensity.”