De Pere's Drew Nowak hangs up his cleats

GREEN BAY, Wis. -  

There's nothing quite like the daily grind of the NFL.

Drew Nowak knows firsthand how busy his schedule was, having gone undrafted out of Western Michigan, to then getting picked up by Jacksonville as an offensive lineman, then moving to Seattle as a starting center for a brief stint, and finally to Kansas City, where he was waived last fall. 

"The support, the phone calls, the messages, through the up, the good and the bad, so it's been great, I've been very fortunate to have the support from here," Nowak said.

"I can't say anymore than how proud I am of the fact that he made it to the top level of football," Russ Nowak, Drew's father, said.

Now Nowak is back home and life is a little different for the former De Pere standout. After four years playing in the NFL, Nowak is hanging up his cleats. 

"I've had a good opportunity and a good run and I just think that it's time," Nowak said. "My wife is pregnant for the second time, so you know, I've been trying to make real life decisions and move forward. I'm happy, I had a great time, great teams, great opportunities and just happy that I got those chances, but now it's time to move forward."

From a defensive lineman turned offensive lineman, to now a career in engineering management, Nowak is back in school at his alma mater to get his degree. He graduates this December. 

"I was hoping to still get opportunities after Kansas City, but you know it just kept going and going and going," Nowak said. "I thought about what's next for me and so then I started to go back to school and get my degree, and so once I got into that groove, it kinda felt good and my body's feeling better, I lost a little bit of weight, so everything's been going really great."

How might he handle going from the daily NFL grind to a future 9-5 job? 

"I will say the nice change is that I'm stationary and I'm in one spot and I'll know where I'm going to be moving forward," Nowak said. "There's not like a being cut, you know going to another team in the middle of the year, it's nice to have a home base, so I will say that's a nice change."

So even though his playing career is over, you might still be able to find Nowak in a coaching position in the future. 

"I mean now I can't hit people for free and it was legal then, but the biggest thing was probably the relationships with the guys," Nowak said. "I've met a lot of cool people, a lot of good friends that I'll have forever."


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