While most football players have been spending their time off on vacation or in the gym, Kansas City Chiefs LB Andy Studebaker took a trip as unique as his path to the NFL.
After the NFL season, while many players vacation at five-star hotels around the world, Studebaker headed to South Africa, where he stayed at a modest hotel and worked at an orphanage for a week.
Studebaker, accompanied by his wife, Mallory, led 14 current players on a spring-break trip through the Wheaton Football Ministry Partnership (WFMP). They painted and laid concrete at an orphanage established by a former Wheaton football player.
”We gave [the orphanage] a face-lift,” Studebaker said, ”and we made a big impact.”
The cost of the trip is about $2,000 per person, but [defensive line coach Jeff] Peltz said they won’t let money be a ”deciding factor.” The only requirement of anyone going is that each person send out 25 letters seeking donations and prayers.
The trip is fulfilling for players because they bond with one another and help others.
”It’s a good chance for us to get a lot done,” Studebaker said, ”and it’s a good chance to encourage guys who are half a world away from home.”
But Studebaker also helps those closer to home. Peltz said a single mom gushed about how Studebaker mentored her son for several years, something Peltz didn’t learn of until after Studebaker left the school.
”Andy spent time with him, he played with him,” Peltz said. ”Even after he left [school], he was calling this boy and just kept in touch.
”As this lady is talking, we’re both getting kind of wet around the eyes.”
Asked about the young man, Studebaker said, ”I would rather keep that private.”
But Haley certainly was impressed when he heard the story.
”He’s just the type of player you’re looking for,” Haley said. ”He found his way into the league in a little different way, but nobody’s outworked him. Then, when the opportunity came about, he took advantage of it.”
Fantastic story from the Chicago Sun-Times.
When the Chiefs needed Studebaker the most — against the Steelers late in the season — he shocked the football world by dominating the Pittsburgh offense, specifically Ben Roethlisberger. From his time on Philadelphia’s practice squad to his starts for Kansas City, no one would have thought twice if the kid from the tiny school was overwhelmed, but all he’s done is go out and do his job.
I’m not sure how much he will get on the field with the Cheifs (hopefully) re-vamped defense, but it’s safe to say his playing time will not be determined by his work ethic.