Schwartz Relieved and Excited to be a Panther

Oregon offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz was drafted by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday as the 34th pick (241) of the seventh round.

Geoff Schwartz, 6-7, 332, was sitting by the phone on Sunday at home in Los Angeles, watching an NBA game and waiting for a phone call that could change his life. Schwartz, the four-year letterman from the University of Oregon was expecting to go earlier in the draft than the seventh round, but when the phone rang, it was the good news he was waiting for.

"I definitely thought I was going to go a little sooner, but they called and said I was going to be a Panther and I was really excited," Schwartz said of the phone call from the Panther organization. "I talked to the head coach (John Fox) and the line coach (David Magazu). It's a good opportunity for me in a style of offense that is more suited to me, a downfield, smash blocking sort of power offense. I'm really excited and kind of relieved."

Schwartz indicated that a number of other teams had been in contact with him today and that he had some free agent plans in the works in case he wasn't drafted. The big offensive lineman knew the Panthers were seriously interested in him but as the draft had wore on he hadn't been tabbed.

"I knew Carolina had wanted me earlier in the draft," said Schwartz. "So when they called and told me that they had taken me, that was a relief. I'm excited and think it (Carolina) is a great organization."

As soon as Schwartz got off the phone, it wasn't long before he was in contact with his former Duck teammate and now Panther teammate Jonathan Stewart. Carolina drafted both young men and Schwartz is very happy to be re-united with the powerful running back from Lacey, Washington.

"It's great," commented Schwartz over the fact he and Jonathan Stewart are headed to Charlotte. "I love Stew and he's a great running back. It's going to be great to be able to block for him again. I've talked to him already today since the draft happened and we're both excited to get a chance to play with each other."

Another former teammate, Dennis Dixon was also drafted today by the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to Schwartz, Stewart had told him that the Panthers were also interested in Dixon. While it would be interesting to wonder what would have happened with all three former Ducks going to the same NFL team, Schwartz is happy for Dixon and believes he'll do well at Pittsburgh.

"Dennis is going to get an opportunity to rest his knee with (Ben) Roethlisberger there," observed Schwartz of Dixon. "(Dixon) is a guy that can do many things so I think that is a good system for him."

Another former Duck that Schwartz has spoken to today is his old roommate from Eugene, David Faaeteete.

"I talked to Dave Faaeteete and he's working on some (free agent) stuff right now," confided Schwartz. "From what I was told most the deals will be done by the end of today because they want to get everybody into camp this (next) weekend."

Up next for Schwartz is a mini-camp next weekend in Charlotte. After that he's not quite sure what the agenda is but he'll be able to participate in some more Panther events since he's already graduated from Oregon with a degree in political science.

The upcoming mini-camp is only for the weekend. So he's not really sure what to expect in terms of moving to the area, arranging for housing, all sort of typical of things for someone just graduating from college and heading out into the working world. In this case though, it is the NFL for one very happy young man.

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