It’s not often that someone gets a call from John Elway and a text from Peyton Manning.
When Michael Schofield heard from both of them on Friday night, it was a comedy of errors.
The Orland Park resident, who starred on the offensive line at Sandburg High School and the University of Michigan, was taken by the Denver Broncos in the third round – the 95th pick — of the NFL Draft Friday night. Elway, the legendary quarterback who is the team’s general manager and executive vice president of football operations, called Schofield to tell him the news before it hit ESPN.
When the phone rang, Schofield was in the middle of a party at his home and it was already a crazy scene. He didn’t know if he was talking to John Elway, John Cena, John Legend or Tommy John.
“I got the phone call and had about 30 or 40 people over and they were yelling so loud, I couldn’t even hear who was on the phone,” he said at a press conference in Denver Saturday afternoon. “It was a pretty fun time at my house.’’
John Elway had to become John Yellway in order to be heard.
Elway is seen on a video on the Broncos’ website sounding like a cell phone commercial when he called Schofield with the good news.
“Can you hear me?” Elway said. “Congratulations we’re thrilled that you are going to be a Bronco.”
Elway took the phone away from his ear, smiled, shook his head and said “He can’t even hear.”
He returned to the phone and said “It sounds like you guys are having fun – that’s a good thing. We look forward to seeing you [Saturday].’’
Schofield also chatted briefly with Denver coach John Fox.
Shortly after the pick, Schofield received a text from Broncos QB Manning. And the 6-foot-6, 305-pounder didn’t respond back right way.
“So many of my friends were calling and texting that my phone blew up,” Schofield said. “I didn’t see it until later. But it’s a cool feeling. He told me to come prepared.”
In one night, Schofield received communication from two guys who have thrown for 116,439 career NFL yards.
Since the Broncos are coming off a season in which they made it to the Super Bowl but suffered a 43-8 loss to Seattle, Schofield doesn’t figure to come in and start right away. But The Broncos plan on giving him a long look at various line positions.
“He’s very versatile – he’s a big guy who has a lot of upside,” Elway said in a news conference Saturday. “He’s still young and we believe he can grow. He’ll bring competition to the offensive line. He gives us a lot of different options. We’re going to be playing with a bunch of different combinations.’’
Schofield said he is willing to try anything.
“I see myself more as an offensive tackle because that what I’ve played most of my career,” he said. “But one thing I wanted to prove during this draft process is that I could play multiple positions – wherever a team needs me.’’
He said he doesn’t see it as a negative that he wasn’t drafted by a struggling team that might give him a better opportunity to play.
“Everyone’s goal is to play in the Super Bowl someday,” he said. “The Broncos made it last year and have a real good shot at going next year. That’s a huge positive.’’
He had a whirlwind 24 hours after the announcement – literally. His flight from the Windy City to a windier city was an adventure.
“I was supposed to get here three hours ago,” he told reporters. “It was a nice flight until we go into this area. Then we were about to land and we were 100 feet from landing but we had to go back up because it was too windy. Then we had to circle back around and we were about to land again. Then is started raining super hard and we held up and went to Colorado Springs.
“We landed there and sat there for an hour. Half the people left the plane because they didn’t want to deal with is anymore. Then we got back on and flew back here. It was pretty exciting.”
Schofield started playing football with the Orland Park Pioneers in sixth grade and it was his younger brother, Andrew, who helped get him interested in the sport. Michael said he wanted to play baseball. Andrew will be a senior lineman at South Dakota University next season.
Schofield’s father, also named Michael, is a battalion chief for the Orland Fire Protection District and pioneered the Blink of an Eye program, which informs area students and parents about the heroic epidemic that has been sweeping the south suburbs.
The younger Michael Schofield is a part of that group and has made some appearances at grade schools to talk about making correct decisions.