By Jack Ross
The NFL may not have a team in Los Angeles, but Pacific Palisades could field the beginnings of one, with four homegrown athletes playing at the pro level this season.
For starters, Washington kicker Kai Forbath has been impressive. On October 19, he made a field goal in every quarter, including a 22-yarder as time expired, giving the Redskins a 19-17 home win over Tennessee and ending his team’s four-game losing streak. This was the Sherman Oaks Notre Dame product’s first game-winning field goal with his team behind since his days at UCLA, where he played from 2006-10.
In the preseason, Forbath fought for his job against rookie Zach Hocker, a seventh-round draft pick chosen to compete against him and won. Following his 40-yard field goal in overtime that enabled Washington to upset Dallas, 20-17, on Oct. 27, he is 13 of 14 on the season and 18 of 19 in extra points.
Meanwhile, Palisades High School’s Schwartz brothers—who happen to be the first Jewish brothers in the NFL since 1923—are still Sunday football mainstays, though they’ve experienced very different seasons thus far.
Mitchell has anchored Cleveland’s offensive line since being drafted in the second round in 2012. This year, as of October 26, the 317-pound tackle had played all 468 of his team’s offensive snaps, one of four Browns on the offensive line to do so. The team’s durability upfront has played a major role in Cleveland’s early success (despite losing Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who also played with Mitchell at Cal, for the season due to a broken leg), and the Browns were in the hunt for the AFC North title at 4-3.
Meanwhile, older brother Geoff unfortunately has not yet seen the field for his New York Giants. The offensive guard signed a four-year, $16.8 million deal this
March, only to dislocate his right big toe in a preseason game against the Jets. However, reports noted that he was back practicing ahead of the team’s Monday night home game against Indianapolis on Nov. 3.
Former Loyola star Chris Conte has also endured his fair share of health challenges this season. In April, Chicago’s fourth-year safety—who played in 45 of 48 games to open his career—underwent right shoulder surgery. He recovered in time to start Chicago’s first six games, only to sprain his shoulder and suffer his second concussion of the year at Atlanta in Week 6. After missing one game, he returned for the Bears’ 53-21 defeat at New England, recording a season-high eight tackles and bringing his season total to 27 with two interceptions.