It might be because in many ways he isn’t. He’s not old, as he’s in his 20s for another few months. And he’s not a veteran in Detroit, since he signed with the franchise earlier this offseason. Yet in the Lions' offensive line room, he has more experience than anyone else since Manny Ramirez is now elsewhere.
“I feel great for being the old guy,” Schwartz said following Detroit’s first offseason meeting Monday. “Yeah, it’s a new role for me, really, and I’m embracing it. For me to be a veteran and do what I can to help the young guys and help the offensive line.”
Schwartz is in his own transition period, as well. While he spent time in Michigan earlier this offseason training at BarwisMethods, the facility of former Michigan football and current New York Mets trainer Mike Barwis, he is still new to the Lions.
So he spent a good part of his first day meeting the other players on the team and the other offensive linemen, including Riley Reiff and Laken Tomlinson. Schwartz said he wasn’t sure what his role will be with Detroit, in part because it is the first day. Schwartz said he’s feeling healthy after struggling the past two seasons with foot, ankle and leg injuries.
He’ll likely fit in with the Lions at guard, but has played right tackle in his career and the Lions have essentially an open competition for the spot.
He does have some familiarity with the Lions' line, though. He watched Reiff and Tomlinson on film and trained with starting right guard Larry Warford when Schwartz worked with LeCharles Bentley from 2013 to 2015.
So he has some understanding of what they are capable of from what he’s seen, even if he hasn’t been able to view it in person yet.
And other than that, it’s a first day like any other all across the NFL.
“It’s about the same. You meet. You work out,” Schwartz said. “Obviously being the new guy you have to meet all your teammates and get used to the facility and what’s going on. But otherwise, it’s about the same everywhere.”