Vienna Vikings bolster offensive line with former Chicago Bear Thomas Schaffer

The Vienna Vikings of the European League of Football (ELF) have signed former Stanford Cardinal and Chicago Bear Thomas Schaffer for the 2023 season. Despite playing defensive line for nearly his entire career, Schaffer will be transitioning to offensive line to help out his hometown Vienna Vikings.

Schaffer played his college football with the Stanford Cardinals (NCAA, DI) following an outstanding three-year high school career at Lake Forest Academy in Illinois. During his fifth year at Stanford, the 6 ‘7, 300 pound Austrian showed what a dominating force he can be as he tallied 20 tackles, four TFLs and a team-leading three sacks, earning him the Frank Rehm Award and an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.

Despite not being drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, Schaffer was immediately picked up by the Chicago Bears in the days that followed. Schaffer presented himself exceptionally during mini camp but was unable to make the final 53-man roster.

In 2022, Schaffer came back to Austria to play in the ELF towards the back end of the season, but not with his hometown team. He instead signed with the Raiders Tirol. In four games, Schaffer tallied nine tackles, four TFLs and a fumble recovery, hardly the impact the league expected from a player who had dominated for so long at one of the highest levels of college football.

Schaffer will now finally be returning home and attempting to win a championship with reigning champs, the Vienna Vikings. It has been almost 10 years since Schaffer played offensive line at Lake Forest Academy, but with his elite size and athleticism, it is unlikely the man mountain will struggle.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.