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The Orland Park Prairie 062217

46 | June 22, 2017 | The orland park prairie Sports

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Feeney plans to work hard for starting spot in LA

LA Charges sign Dan

Feeney to four-year

contract

Frank Gogola

Freelance Reporter

Dan Feeney was one of

the top-rated guards in this

year’s NFL draft class, so he

felt confident he would be

selected at some point. He

just didn’t know when and

by whom.

Even after the Los Angeles

Chargers called to say

they were drafting him in

the third round, the 2012

Sandburg grad wanted to

make sure his name was

actually announced as he

watched the draft show at

home with family.

“As soon as I got off the

call, it was just two minutes

of dead silence,” Feeney

said. “It felt like a year,

those two minutes, because

you want to hear your name

called. As soon as my name

was called, I got probably

100 texts, a couple Facebook,

social media shoutouts.

I never felt so popular

in my life.”

The Chargers selected

Feeney with the 71st overall

pick on April 28. He is the

second Sandburg alumnus

in the past five seasons to be

drafted by an NFL team.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound

offensive lineman was a

four-year starter at Indiana

University and a two-time

first-team All-American. He

was a highly rated prospect

leading up to the 2016 draft,

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Dan Feeney (left) stretches out during a rookie practice

with the Los Angeles Chargers.

but he decided to return to

IU for his final season

Feeney primarily played

right guard and mixed in

some right tackle at IU. He

said the Chargers want him

to play in the interior as either

a center or guard who

can create running lanes and

protect quarterback Philip

Rivers.

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Dan Feeney (middle) runs a drill during the Los Angeles Chargers camp after being drafted

by the team. Courtesy Mike Nowak, Los Angeles Chargers

“Coach [Pat] Meyer, the

O-line coach for the Chargers,

he said I have a good

chance to come in and

start,” Feeney said. “I obviously

have to earn it. Just

have to go in with an open

mind, learn as much as I can

and apply it to [the] field.”

Feeney feels good about

his quick feet and strong

hands but acknowledged he

needs to work on his hand

placement and keeping his

pad level low. He doesn’t

have a playbook yet but has

been studying about 60 pages

of play calls he received.

“These past couple

weeks, I’ve been practicing

center, both guards,” Feeney

said. “Getting reps, figuring

movements and have

become confident in them. It

doesn’t matter where I play,

I just want to get on the field

and help them win.”

Feeney was a two-year

varsity starter at Sandburg

and earned second-team

all-state honors. He was a

three-star player who was

rated the No. 16 prospect in

the state by Rivals.

He played offensive tackle

as a junior and senior,

and added nose tackle duties

on the defensive line as

a senior. Former Sandburg

coach Dave Wierzal spoke

highly of Feeney’s work

ethic and was impressed by

his drive blocking, combo

blocking and ability to

climb to the next level of

defenders.

“He’s a friendly person,

but on game day he plays

with fierce intensity,” Wierzal

said. “He was very

driven and focused. He set

a high standard for himself

and his teammates, and then

was a great role model on

working to achieve it.

“Because he was such an

impact player, it was difficult

to take him off the field.

We tried to rest him on defense

if it was necessary, but

he would never tap himself

out.”

Feeney is the second

Sandburg alumnus who

played for Wierzal to be

drafted. Offensive lineman

Michael Schofield, a 2009

Sandburg grad, was selected

by the Denver Broncos

in the 2014 draft.

Among the coaches Feeney

credits for helping in

his rise are Kevin Clark

and Jeff Obradovich, his

offensive line coaches at

Sandburg, and Greg Frey

and Kevin Wilson, his offensive

line coach and head

coach, from Indiana. Clark

and Obradovich taught him

the basics of being an offensive

lineman because he had

never played football until

his freshman year. Frey and

Wilson molded him into a

lineman who surrendered

only two sacks in 3,355 collegiate

snaps.

Feeney signed a four-year

contract with the team on

June 2, according to a statement

released on the Chargers

website.

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