Like a made-for-TV movie
Sandburg graduates Feeney, Schofeld share improbable journey to the NFL
Dan Feeney and Michael Schofield are part of a fraternity of local players who have realized their dream of making it to the NFL.
Other active NFL players include Minnesota Vikings receiver Laquon Treadwell, a Crete-Monee graduate, and Detroit Lions receiverKenny Golladay, a St. Rita grad.
But playing in the NFL is only part ofwhat makes the journey of Feeney and Schofield so unique.
Both graduated fromSandburg— Schofield in 2009, Feeney in 2012. They grewup inOrland Park, where Schofield’s father, Mike, is a fire chief.
It gets better.
What if I told you Schofield and Feeney play on the same team, the Los Angeles Chargers? Pretty crazy, right? That’s not the end of it. Schofield, 28, and Feeney, 24, start together on the offensive line. The 6-foot-6, 301-pound Schofield plays right guard, while the 6-4, 310-pound Feeney plays left guard.
Two kids fromthe same high school starting on the offensive line for the same NFL team.
Sounds like a made-for-TV movie.
“It’s really unbelievable,” Schofield said.
“It’s a smallworld,” Feeney said.
So when the duo had an opportunity to let the wholeworld knowwhere they came from, they seized the moment.
Before a nationally televised Sunday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Schofield approached Feeney with an idea.
“I said to him, ‘Howmany high schools have two guys in the NFL, much less two who play on the same NFL team and on the same line?’” Schofield recalled. “We agreed that whenwewere going to tape our parts forNBC saying our name and college, we were going to say our high school instead.”
I happened to bewatching that Dec. 2 game when Schofield and Feeney proudly said “Sandburg” instead of their colleges.
Itwas a super-coolmoment. A sincere display of gratitude to the high school that set them on a path to the NFL.
“Sandburg is a great place,” Schofield said. “Itwas a huge part in preparingme academically and athletically for life after high school. We had to do it this one time.”
Feeney didn’t needmuch convincing.
“I had great coaches and teachers at Sandburg,” Feeney said. “It set the foundation for me.”
Whenword circulated around the locker room of the rare connection, teammateswere stunned.
“They couldn’t believe it,” Schofield said. “The same team is crazy enough, but starting on the same line makes it even crazier.”
Schofield and Feeney didn’t cross paths at Sandburg.
Schofieldwas a senior when Feeneywas a freshman. Feeney, however, knew about the Eagles’ star senior whowas attracting interest frommajorDivision I colleges.
“I think everyone in the school knew about Mike,” Feeney said. “A big, strong kid whowas getting recruited by schools throughout the country.”
A few years later, Feeney would be the one receiving simi- lar interest.
Schofield picked Michigan. Feeney chose Indiana.
There’s another connection. Bothwere selected in the third round of the NFL draft. The Denver Broncos took Schofield in 2014, while the Chargers grabbed Feeney in 2017.
Schofield, who’s married to U.S. Olympicwomen’s hockey playerKendall Coyne, won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2016 before being cut.
He landed with the Chargers — and Feeney— in 2017.
Theywould like to share another achievement, and that’s winning a Super Bowl.
The Chargers (12-4) play the Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at 12:05 p.m. Sunday in an AFC wild-card game.
“Howincrediblewould that be?” Feeney said. “To be able to share that withDan, two kids from Sandburg, would be really special.”
Really special, indeed.
Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Dan Feeney, a Sandburg graduate, gets set before the snap against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.