O’Brien Schofield was tearing it up in the Seattle Seahawks‘ 41-14 victory over the San Diego Chargers to the tune of four quarterback hits, a sack and a tackle for loss. He had power moves inside and speed moves outside with hustle everywhere and all the time. “He was all over the place,” said head coach Pete Carroll. Nothing gets an athlete moving like being snubbed and having something to prove.
After three years with the Arizona Cardinals, Schofield signed a one-year contract with Seattle. He saw some action in 15 games because of Chris Clemons‘ knee surgery and Bruce Irvin‘s suspension, recording eight tackles and a sack. He rode the post-Super Bowl momentum all the way to a two-year, $8 million contract with the New York Giants. As a family man heading into his fifth season, Schofield was ecstatic.
After his physical with the Giants, team doctors noted arthritis forming in the left knee that he injured in 2010. Although the problem never affected his play, New York voided the contract. Schofield was crushed and a free agent instead of wealthy.
Seattle signed him back to a one-year, $730,000 contract. He’d be competing with second-year player Benson Mayowa and rookie Cassius Marsh for the defensive end/leo linebacker position. Last Friday night, Schofield staked his claim.
On one play, he looped inside from the right end to hit Kellen Clemens in the chest. On another, he sped around the left tackle and met Marsh at the quarterback. He showed that Seattle is still very deep on the defensive line despite losing Red Bryant and Clemons. It was so good to hear the roar of the 12s and see a swarming Seattle defense again.
And Schofield’s competition? Mayowa recorded a sack when the pocket collapsed. Marsh, despite hurting his knee earlier in the week and getting an MRI, was “suited and booted” (as Jarrod Patterson said), and collected two tackles. Playing Marsh in the preseason just after spraining his knee might be crazy, but Marsh might just be my kind of crazy.
This Schofield story is one of the reasons I love the game. The ups and downs, thrills and disappointments, and one last chance to prove it all. I hope OB destroys 2014 and earns an even bigger contract next year.
The Giants should remember it was waves of relentless pass-rushers like Schofield that carried them to victory in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI. Did the Giants pass on a great player? Is the New York snub why Schofield is working harder than ever? That’s up to OB to prove.
Week 10, the Giants come to Seattle. Let’s see what Schofield has to show them.