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Where are they now? TE Matt Schobel

Matt Schobel
Matt Schobel

Like most, if not all of us, Matt Schobel felt he deserved a raise.

Following five seasons with Cincinnati where he caught 90 passes and nine touchdowns, the veteran tight end became an unrestricted free agent in 2006. And some teams, including the Eagles, agreed with him.

"I remember there were quite a few calls, but I think probably the two that (called) the most would be the Eagles and the Texans," Schobel says. "Philadelphia was definitely a city that I told my agent I would be perfectly happy going to play for Coach (Andy) Reid.

"At the time, L.J. Smith was there, and they said they wanted to sign another veteran tight end with the thought of using some two-tight end packages."

Looking to make his first reception as an Eagle in the home opener against the Giants, Schobel had to wait a little longer than he hoped to introduce himself to the 67,241 fans at the Linc. That's because the initial pass that headed his way from quarterback Donovan McNabb didn't go as planned.

"I dropped a touchdown," Schobel says. "I remember when the ball was in the air thinking I'm going to score in my first home game, and then I looked down to see if I had gotten my feet in the corner of the end zone, and I dropped it.

"And probably the most memorable thing about that is the next day. We had our second son (Adam), and I remember the doctor giving me a hard time about it. And he really wasn't even laughing.

"Yeah, (the drop) was definitely a disappointing moment. We had a big (24-7) fourth-quarter lead. But the Giants came from behind and beat us that game (30-24 in overtime)."

Things would get better. After the little hiccup in the end zone, Schobel became the reliable tight end the Eagles knew he was when they pursued him.

In his first season with Philadelphia, Schobel and his teammates would start with a 5-6 record and "everybody said we had no chance; we were out of it."

"There were a bunch of articles written about that the season was over," Schobel says. "But I was always impressed with Coach Reid, and how in a city that's so passionate, how even-keeled he always stayed. He never lost belief in us and was just such a calming presence in a city that's pretty hectic.

"And he was right. He said we're going to turn it around and we did. We went on the road and won three divisional games, and ended up winning the division (with a 10-6 record).

"We got in the playoffs and beat the Giants in the first round and then lost in New Orleans in a close game (27-24) after that. But that whole turnaround of that season was probably what I remember the most (about my three seasons with the Eagles)."

Retiring from the league in 2009, Schobel and his family made their home in his hometown of Columbus, Texas. He earned his certification to teach and coach, and accepted a position in 2012 at his alma mater, Columbus High School.

"They were interested in me coaching, but at that point with my kids' ages, I'd said I would be interested in a teaching job if it were the right spot," Schobel says. "I took a job in special education and did it for six or seven years and it kind of turned into a mentor role. Just a way of helping kids and giving back in this small town. And I loved it.

"Then in 2018, the athletic director approached me about coaching and I decided I would give it a try. I was the offensive coordinator in 2018. He moved on and in 2019, they hired me to be the head coach and athletic director.

"Obviously, at that point, I had very little experience as an athletic director. But I have a lot of good people around me and we've had success both in football and throughout our athletic program. We've won 33 (football) games the last three years, which is one of the top five in 3A, our classification. So that's been great, but all of our sports have done well. Our kids are well-behaved and we're proud of what we've accomplished."

Granted, it's been 13 years since his final game with the Eagles, but Schobel has found himself using things he picked up from Reid now and then which has helped him as a head coach.

"As far as X's and O's, there's a little bit of a blend of everywhere I've been. Certainly, some of the stuff we did (in Philadelphia). And I have told people I wish that the stuff he's doing now (in Kansas City) he was doing then, so I could have learned some of that stuff," Schobel laughed.

"Probably our verbiage is a little bit of everywhere I've been, definitely some of the West Coast terminology. But just being around him, how he treated players, I have so much respect for him."

What does Schobel enjoy most about what he's doing?

"The kids. It's kind of a cool age," he says. "How much they change and mature in those years you have them, by the time they graduate they're young men or ladies. Just the maturity and the discipline that they can learn from athletics, being a part of a team, are all the things that are rewarding from coaching.

"Obviously, I'm very competitive and I love winning. That's what we love, but it's not why we do what we do. And I don't know that I could do it with the same pride anywhere else but in my hometown. Being from here, a lot of these kids, I know their parents or their aunts and their uncles.

"I'm not trying to go somewhere else or go to a different level. This is the job I like. Two of my sons were on varsity last year and will be this year, and two of my nephews. I've coached several other nephews the last four years, so it's been a lot of fun."

Schobel and his wife, Nicole, a counselor for the school district, have four children. The two sons who are on varsity, Tommy and Adam; a younger son, Jack; and a daughter, Caroline.

"I'm at peace. Those years, we have a lot of great memories," Schobel says. "I'd say at this point, very happy professionally and very thankful for the journey that we've been on together. But definitely, it's a time where it's about our kids and it's about our family. And we're very, very happy with everything that's going on."

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