LAKE FOREST – He’s been a starter for a majority of his time in the NFL while also winning a Super Bowl in his second season in the NFL.

Yet the ninth campaign for Michael Schofield could be considered the one in which his dream came true.

That’s because the Orland Park native and former Sandburg High School standout is playing for his hometown Chicago Bears after the team signed him to a one-year deal earlier this week. He arrived just in time for training camp ahead of the 2022 season and now gets the chance to fulfill a goal set when he was a child.

“I always wanted to land here,” said Schofield of getting the chance to play in Chicago. “Definitely growing up, I was a pretty big Bears fan. It’s a dream come true, for sure, to be able to play here. Definitely excited for the opportunity.

“It’s a young team, it’s an exciting team. I think we can do a lot of things.”

Schofield is going to get the chance to do that with a team he watched a lot when they were exciting – the mid-2000s – when the team made their last Super Bowl. It’s moments from that team that stood out the most to the lineman as he starts his ninth year of playing in the NFL, eight of which he’s seen the field.

“I’ll never forget the Super Bowl with Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff, everything, all that stuff. I grew up with all of that,” said Schofield. “Urlacher, Briggs, Olin Kreutz, all those guys back there in the days. So I was a big Bears fan growing up.”

The offensive lineman will now be looking to give those kids who watch the Bears now some of those memories as he joins a new-look team with a brand new coaching staff in 2022. Schofield has a diverse career on the line having started at both tackle and guard spots in his career.

In 2021 with the Chargers he was at the right tackle spot, playing in 15 games while starting 12 for the team. It’s expected that Schofield will see time at one of the guard spots for the Bears in 2022. The deal came together just this weekend, as the call came in to the lineman Friday, a workout was held over the weekend, and a contract was signed Monday.

“You always want an opportunity, you always want a chance. That’s what camp’s for,” said Schofield. “Just try to go out there, do your best every single day, help the young guys along, and do what you can do to be a good teammate, and just see what happens at the end of camp.”

Perhaps this opportunity is just a little more special.