By Peter Schwartz
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The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for Geoff Schwartz.
The veteran offensive lineman got married on March 8 in the Santa Monica, California area and then signed a contract with the Giants a few days later.
Talk about a hectic few days.
“For about a week there it was kind of non-stop action,” said Schwartz. “I didn’t have time to let it settle in. I’ve had this last week to relax and let it settle. It’s exciting.”
Schwartz received multiple offers on March 11, the first day of free agency. About an hour-and-a-half before the signing period was to begin at 4 p.m., his agent told him to have a bag packed because that night he was going to fly somewhere.
That somewhere was New Jersey, where he signed a four-year deal with the Giants for a reported $16.8 million, with $6.2 million guaranteed. After a physical the next day, he put pen to paper and was officially a member of Big Blue.
So, why did he sign with the Giants?
“They’re the premier franchise in the NFL,” said Schwartz. “When you get an opportunity to play for a team like this, it’s hard to pass up. The goal is always to win that Super Bowl. I think their commitment to winning definitely drew me to coming here.”
Schwartz was drafted in the seventh round by the Panthers in 2008. He spent that first season on the practice squad, but it was still a productive year in Carolina. In May, he would meet his future wife, Meridith, at a local bar. They went on their first date in June and the rest is, as they say, history.
In 2009, Schwartz played in every game and then started every game in 2010. After spending the 2011 season on IR with a hip injury, he moved onto the Vikings in 2012 and then signed with the Chiefs in 2013.
After moving around from place to place, Schwartz can now settle down and enjoy life, marriage and football.
“It’s definitely nice to know where you’re going to be,” said Schwartz. “Now it’s just a matter of finding where we want to live. It’s nice to know that I’ll be in a spot at least for more than a couple of years, which I haven’t had for three or four years now.”
After playing football, basketball and baseball for Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles, Schwartz went to college at Oregon where he was a three-year starter for the Ducks at right tackle.
Schwartz, 27, is entering his sixth NFL season. At 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, he helps bolster a Giants offensive line that has slipped over the last couple of seasons.
“They really want to get back to running the ball and being the team they used to be” said Schwartz. “They saw that I can come in and help with that. I’m excited to help revamp the offensive line.”
The plan is for Schwartz to be the Giants’ starting left guard. He could also play right guard if Chris Snee isn’t healthy, and he also has past experience at tackle.
“I think I’ve started more games at guard than at tackle,” said Schwartz. “It’s nice to have versatility but I prefer to play guard.”
While Schwartz will fit in perfectly with the Giants, he’s also going to fit in very nicely in the New York/New Jersey community. Schwartz is one of a few Jewish players in the NFL, and now he comes to a metropolitan area that has a high Jewish population.
“I take pride in being a role model for the Jewish community,” said Schwartz. “I don’t think that I look at it necessarily as, like, I’ve overcome odds being a Jewish guy to play football. In general, there’s not many Jews that play sports or Jews to get to my size. I’m looking forward to getting to know the Jewish community.”
When he signed with the Giants, Schwartz was excited as he prepared to come to town to sign his contract. He made it known that having a bowl of matzoh ball soup was on his agenda.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make it happen on this trip.
“I was too busy,” said Schwartz. “We were so busy meeting people over at the facility and signing the contract. I’ve been to New York a couple of times. The only place that I haven’t been to is Katz’s (Deli). I’ve been to Carnegie, Sarge’s, and most of the big ones.”
Sure, you can go to a restaurant, but there’s nothing like a good homemade bowl of matzoh ball soup. So, after I told my mother-in-law, Gail, about the newest Giant, she offered up a little something to welcome him to the area. She told me to tell Schwartz that he is welcomed to come over for some of her matzoh ball soup.
After thinking about it for a second, he chuckled and gave me an answer.
“I may have to take her up on the offer,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz and his wife will have to get used to life in the NY/NJ area. He’s from Los Angeles, so he knows what a traffic jam is all about. But, he met his wife in Charlotte, so she’ll certainly have a transition period.
“My wife has never really lived in a big city quite like the NY/NJ area, so I think it will be a little bit of an adjustment,” he said. “It will be nice to be in a market like New York.”
At the end of the day, Schwartz signed with the Giants for stability and a chance to win. He joins a team that has won two recent Super Bowls and he’ll be looked upon to help build a future championship club.
“I think that’s our goal, but you really can’t look too far ahead,” said Schwartz. “The team has a lot of talent. We’ve got some great players this offseason. We’ll see when things get rolling this summer what we’re like.”
Life is good for Schwartz. He just got married and scored a huge payday in NFL free agency. He’s moving to the NY/NJ metropolitan area where he’ll be a beloved figure in the Jewish community. So, with a little bit of mazel, he could very well help bring Giants fans all kinds of nachas if Big Blue can win another Super Bowl.
Hey, Giants fans: May the Schwartz be with you!
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