Chris Wright: In Between the Lines

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Chris Wright: In Between the Lines

Chris Wright running the ball up the field into an end zone.

Chris Wright running the ball up the field into an end zone.

Chris Wright running the ball up the field into an end zone.

Chris Wright running the ball up the field into an end zone.

By Sam Galanopoulos, Sports Editor

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Whenever anyone hears the name Chris Wright they automatically think of the stud football player that swept the conference at West, had limitless amounts of success in college, and continued to pursue his passion of playing professional football one day. Growing up as a little boy, Wright immediately fell in love with the game and everything that came with it. Upon entering his late years of middle school and early years of high school, his mentality changed.

Wright’s offensive coordinator coach at the time and current social studies teacher Scott Baum had a lot to say about Wright’s athletic prowess throughout his time here at west.

“I had the opportunity to coach Chris when he played here. Chris stood out both on the football field and on the track. He is an extremely talented athlete who really developed as a football player. Chris was an outstanding wide receiver and every time he touched the ball, he had the chance to score,” Baum said. “He was one of the few players that I have coached that you consider a ‘difference maker!’ Chris has taken his passion for the game and competing to pass it down to younger athletes who want to compete at the next level.”

Along with Baum were many feeder football players that looked up to Wright in any way possible. Niles West alumnus and football players Greg Leftakes and Johnny Pabst fonded over the memories they had growing up, watching Chris.

“When I was in middle school, my siblings were in high school and they were in school with Chris. I continuously heard the stories of how he was a freak athlete, an amazing football player, and a good kid overall. Being apart of the feeder football program, we got to catch glimpses of his play, and he was sick. My 4th-grade little self was blown out of my mind,” Leftakes said.

Pabst was in agreement with the impact Wright had on his career as well.

“Chris Wright is one of the greatest athletes to come out of West. He played division 1 football for 4 years and tried out for the NFL. Although he fell short, that doesn’t just get forgotten. He is a crazy athlete who is a living example of what hard work can do for you. Especially being a football player myself, he’s a great role model to have ever since I was a kid,” Pabst said.

When Wright graduated from West in 2009, he continued his football career in college at Eastern Illinois University, in hopes of making it to the big league.

“I decided my sophomore year of high school that I wanted to play football at the next level. I started to get pretty good at it and thought I should play this as long as I can, and once I decided that it took over and consumed most of what I did. I started working out before school doing weights, then going to after-school practice, and then trained. I practiced a lot and trained a lot to be able to keep playing the game at the next level,” Wright said.

After graduating from Eastern, Wright wanted to try out for the National Football League (NFL). Out of college, Wright was in contact with coaches and franchises in hopes of his talent shining through enough to make it on an elite team.

“The process of playing after college can be super quick for some and really long for others. I was on the long end where I had talked to some teams once I came out of school but didn’t make the final roster cuts. Then after that, I bounced around trying to find a place to pay and ended up playing for an arena team in Cleveland called the Cleveland Gladiators. The area game was weird so I stopped doing it and began focusing on my life after football.”

Although Wright fell short in the professional field, his legacy has never waned. With his great example of hard work, dedication, and positivity, his dreams are infinite. All of his experiences and memories have forever stuck with him, giving him a goal to pass on what he has learned to the future generation to come.