By Liz Nagle, Daily Sports Writer
Published May 20, 2012
After being traded by the Denver Broncos in 2010, tight end Tony Scheffler returned home to Michigan.
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Over the years, Scheffler has developed local ties to the communities in and around Detroit through family, friends and work.
On Saturday, Scheffler was one of the thousand in attendance, supporting C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital during the Griese/Hutchinson/Woodson Champions for Children’s Hearts weekend.
While perusing the silent auction items, Scheffler talked to the Michigan Daily about his ties to his home state and the future of the Lions' upcoming season.
The Michigan Daily: At Western Michigan, you were playing both football and baseball — what ultimately led you to choose a career in football?
Tony Scheffler: I was on a football scholarship, so I had to do everything with the football team. So I was always a little bit behind in baseball — I kind of just did it because I love playing baseball. But I never really gave it a hundred percent in college, so it was always on the back burner. It was something I enjoyed and I loved the change of pace it brought and different guys on the team. It was a lot of fun and kept me out of trouble in college — I had to stay focused.
TMD: At Chelsea High School, was your (baseball) coach Wayne Welton?
TS: One of the best men I’ve ever been around on and off the field of play. He’s a great, great man — there’s not really words to describe him. He’s a guy that expected a lot out of us in high school, and he did a fantastic job of raising young men at Chelsea. There’s just not a lot I can put into words to say — he knows how much I appreciate him. And he’s had a lot to do with where I’m at today. I’m really happy for him. I know he’s super excited to be here with (baseball coach Rich Maloney). I’m sure it’s one of his dreams come true. I know that he’s passed on opportunities like this before to stay at Chelsea and be the administrator that he was, and I’m just proud of him and real happy for him.
TMD: Being from Michigan, when you came back to play for Detroit, was this ultimately what you wanted?
TS: Yeah, it just kind of worked out really awesome. It was a whirlwind when I got traded and I got rumor that it might be here and it was just really cool. Both sides of my family are from down-river area, so just coming back and being able to play in front of my family every weekend and just being back in the state. I have so many ties here, and it’s awesome to be back, playing for the Lions and I get to do stuff like this on a regular basis. And I’m still meeting guys like George Blaha, Ray Lane and Mark Champion … guys that I grew up listening to on the radio and watching on TV in the sporting world. Now, I’m kind of rubbing elbows with them in and around the state is pretty cool.
TMD: Will you talk about the new business you opened recently?
TS: Myself and Ndamukong Suh and some of the team doctors, we opened up a training facility in Bloomfield Hills. It’s called D1 Sports and we just focus on training the athlete. We have indoor turf area, a gym and some trainers in there, and we get after it pretty good. It’s something I always wanted to do, and now that I’m back in Michigan, it definitely gives me opportunity to put some roots down. It’s definitely something I’ll continue to work with after I’m playing.
TMD: Coming back to the Lions organization, what do the new draft picks bring to the table?
TS: It’s fun — it’s always fun. This is going on in my seventh year, so I probably have pretty good feel for what goes on and helping guys out. It’s cool to see, every year, a new wave of guys come in. Especially now with the new (Collective Bargaining Agreement), our roster’s expanded and we’ve got a lot more undrafted rookies, so there’s a lot of guys out there. It’s juts fun to be a leader out there and help the young guys out. And it’s definitely fun to watch them swim a little bit the first couple days.
TMD: There’s still some concern on the Lions’ running game — what do you see there?
TS: I think if (Mikel Leshoure's) injury comes along and, obviously, (Jahvid Best) is a great running back and I think we have plenty of weapons in the backfield as long as we stay healthy.