Nice Jewish Boy Signs with Cleveland Browns - The Jewish Voice
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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Nice Jewish Boy Signs with Cleveland Browns

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Mitchell Schwartz, a Jewish athlete who played college football at Cal, was drafted and signed by the Cleveland Browns in recent days.Mitchell Schwartz, a Jewish athlete who played offensive line for the University of California, Berkeley (Cal) football team from 2008 to 2011, was selected 37th overall by the Cleveland Browns organization in last month’s NFL draft.

A California native, Schwartz grew up in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. At 6-foot-6 and 318 pounds, he started all 51 games as right or left tackle for the Golden Bears, and was named the most valuable player by the team during his final three seasons.

The Browns reportedly drafted Schwartz to help buttress the right side of its offensive line, an area the team has struggled to reinforce. Cleveland finished at 4-12 last season.

“He is very sound in his fundamentals,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur told the Cleveland Jewish News about Schwartz. “He’s very detailed with his sets, he is good with his hands, he understands what the defense is going to do by the way they are aligned. He’s a very sharp guy.”

The Cleveland newcomer sounded similarly enthused when he outlined some of his plans for training camp, which began on May 10.

“Obviously whatever your weakness is, you kind of want to make that into your strength,” he explained. “At the same time you don’t want to let your strengths become your weaknesses. It’s always a nice little balance. So far, we’ve been doing a little bit of everything. Working different techniques in the run game, different techniques in the pass game with our hands, our feet.”

The season is scheduled to begin in early September.

‘Matzo Ball Soup or a Nice Deli Sandwich’
Aside from his football talents, Schwartz also carries a strong Jewish tradition. He and his brother, Geoff— who currently plays for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings— learned of Judaism while attending Hebrew School and synagogue services.

“We were pretty active, especially compared to some of the friends we had who were Jewish,” Schwartz explained.

Along the way, the two brothers were also exposed to some of the staples of Jewish cuisine.

“Matza ball soup or a nice deli sandwich,” the Browns rookie said while detailing his Jewish food preferences. “And of course in the winter, latkes warm you up. I’m sure I’ll eat a lot of everything once the season starts.”

Schwartz’s family’s traditional roots were even more visible when his father, Lee, spoke about his sons’ accomplishments.

“I kvell when thinking about it,” he said. “We stressed family, we stressed being good, ethical people, morals.”

“We stressed the religion and being Jewish,” Lee Schwartz continued. “I think it’s just a collection of a lot of things that we as parents try to instill in them, and ultimately it worked out.”

Mitchell Schwartz said he tried to apply Judaism and its fundamental teachings while on the football field.

“Judaism teaches a lot of dedication and hard work,” he said. “You don’t go back on your word. You do what you’re supposed to do when you’re told by your superior. I think it’s more the spirit of being a good person in society. If you do those things the right way, you’ll be successful no matter what you do.”

Schwartz is expected to experience little difficulty in locating Jewish resources while in Cleveland.

“From everything I’ve heard, it sounds like a pretty decent-sized community in Cleveland,” the rookie said. “I’m sure my mom and dad will help me figure it out. I’m plenty confident I’ll be able to find something.”

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