O’Brien Schofield is smiling.
Then again, he’s always smiling: on the field, off the
But this smile is different.
The Cardinals third-year linebacker was just congratulated
on the birth of his son, eliciting a wide smile and the
proverbial sparkle in the eyes.
Judea Anthony Schofield was born a week ago Wednesday in
the early morning hours of May 23rd.
A short time later, the brand new father returned to the
practice field, refusing to miss even a minute of the
team’s second OTA of the offseason.
“I talked to the coaches and they were pretty much OK
with me missing the second OTA,” said Schofield. “I was
up all night, all morning.
“I actually looked into my son’s eyes. My fiance, she’s
Hawaiian so he has green eyes. I looked into his eyes and
I was like, ‘You know what, I’ve got to get to work.’ I
can never take a day off or anything off. I’ve got to
provide. I have someone to provide for now. Just to see
that, I think my motivation and my grind, I’m going to
work a little bit harder.”
The former fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin is always
among the last players off the field each day.
But these days — in addition to his son, Schofield is
motivated by playing time. This season, he’s expected to
start at one of the two outside linebacker positions in
the Cardinals 3-4 defense.
“I mean that’s my mind-set. I think everyone comes out
here to prepare to be a starter,” said Schofield, who is
currently running with the first team opposite Sam Acho on
the other side. “Each day I’ve been trying to get better
and perfect my craft.”
Schofield, after missing nearly half his rookie season
recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee, responded
with a strong sophomore campaign. He played in all 16
games in 2011, registering 4.5 sacks — including three in
the final five games.
“That’s what I did really well in college,” Schofield said
of pressuring the quarterback. “I started coming along my
first two years in the league and this year I’m ready to
put it all together.”
Over the offseason, Schofield underwent surgery on both
shoulders. He said he had his labrum and rotator cuff
worked on in his left shoulder “and then my right one just
needed some cleanup.”
Finally healthy, Schofield is expecting big things from
himself in 2012.
“I’m not going to give no sack number but (Adrian Wilson)
has told me he needs at least 10 so I would like to get
above 10 or more. That’s what I’m working for.”
Schofield had 12 sacks his senior year at Wisconsin, but
the Cardinals haven’t had a player reach double figures in
that category since Bertrand Berry tallied 14.5 in 2004.
With his goals set, Schofield knows there’s no time to
rest, which is a good thing with a one-week-old baby at
“I’m happy that we’re only practicing three days a week
right now so that really helps me recoup on the weekends.”