It won’t happen right away. Buffalo’s front office has more pressing matters right now, but a bit later this offseason the top two executives in the Bills' hierarchy will sit down with
“I’m scheduled to talk with Ralph (Wilson) and Russ (Brandon) and try to make a decision,” said Schobel the Monday after Buffalo’s season-ending victory over the Colts.
Schobel finished the year as the team leader in sacks with 10. It’s the eighth time in nine seasons he’s led the team in quarterback takedowns. The 2009 season was also the fourth double-digit sack season in his career. Schobel was also tied for the team lead in forced fumbles with three and finished fourth on the team in tackles.
The team’s top pass rusher intends to take about two months to think about his plans for 2010 and whether or not they include continuing his football career.
There are a number of factors impacting Schobel’s decision and none of them involve money. Naturally a new head coach and a new defensive scheme will play a role in whether or not he returns for a 10th season with Buffalo. With a lot of change anticipated for the Bills’ roster and coaching staff it's never easy to pull all of those new pieces together and be dramatically more successful in the span of one season.
The losing the past nine seasons has worn on him.
“When you’re losing it’s just not a good feeling in the locker room,” Schobel said. “Winning would have revived me a little more. I haven’t made a decision. I’m going to think about it and make the best decision I can make for everybody.”
That’s why Schobel intends to do some soul searching at home these next eight weeks to see if he still has a passion to play football at its highest level knowing full well it’s an all or nothing commitment.
“I have to see if it’s really what I want to do,” Schobel said. “If I’m going to do it I’m going to try to do it the best I can do it. I don’t want to come in here and half-*ss it. It’s not just a 16-game season it’s a full year process. So we’ll see.”
The biggest factor for Schobel is his family. Married with three young children, Schobel doesn’t want to be shuttling them back and forth between Buffalo and his native Columbus, Texas, especially with all three now set to be in grade school beginning next school year.
“The youngest will be starting school in the fall. They’re at that age where they need to be in one school because of reading situations and math,” said Schobel of his kids. “All the basics are being taught. Going back and forth and missing a month out of the school year and different programs. It’s not just about me at this point.”
Schobel acknowledged that one thing that will not change is his family will stay in Texas this coming year no matter what happens with respect to his playing career. The question is if he does play will he be able to work out a plan being away from his family for stretches of time.
“They’re going to stay home for sure and if I decide to play we’ll try to figure out the best way to make it work because I’m not going to be away from them for four months. That’s not going to happen,” Schobel said. “So we’ll see.”
When the Bills front office meets with Schobel later this offseason they may need to come up with a unique approach to accommodate him with his family logistics during the season to convince him to return in 2010. Without him Buffalo will not have a proven pass rusher on their roster.