From Stanford to the NFL to Wharton, Erik Lorig is a man driven to go to the top of whatever he puts his mind to. The former NFL Tight End/ Fullback played both sides of the ball in college. When he got drafted to the NFL he had a solid career. His strong Jewish upbringing is important to this MoT and we are excited to shared his story with our readers.
1) When did you get your start in football?
When I was in 8th grade – the Pop Warner football coaches kept recruiting my Dad and I to switch from AYSO Soccer to youth football. I was growing taller and bigger than my peers, and one of the soccer coaches also coached football. At the time, I was playing organized baseball, basketball, soccer, and surfing a lot.
2) Did you know at Stanford that the NFL was a reality? What was the college experience like for you?
I knew I had a chance mid-way through my college career. After Jim Harbaugh took over the program, and team performance along with my own performance began to accelerate, I was told by coaches and scouts I had a chance to keep going.
The college experience at Stanford was excellent. My teammates and I were extremely dedicated to the football program and to our academic performance. Stanford makes no excuses for any students or student athletes. Even Coach Harbaugh stressed our academic performance as a competitive measure on the team. Our GPAs were posted in the lock-rooms along with all of our weight lifting results.
3) The NFL draft is one of my favorite days of the year. What was it like for you during the draft? Where were you and what did it mean to have your name called?
I was at home in Los Angeles with my family. I was relieved that I was actually drafted, nervous about moving coasts to a new state, and excited to compete at the highest level possible in my craft.
4) You quickly switched from Defensive End to Fullback/Tight End. Was the transition difficult? Were you at all reluctant to the idea?
No – The Buccaneers started scouting me when I was a freshman and sophomore at Stanford where I was playing tight end at first. I switched to defensive end for my junior and senior year. The Buccaneers were sold on my versatility as a pro player in the roll as a tight end/fullback.
6) What have you been up to since retiring from football?
Since retiring from football I worked at a middle market private equity firm, then applied to business school. I’m currently a 2nd year graduate student in the MBA program at the Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania. I focus in Finance and Real Estate.
7) How close do you stay to the game and NFL Alumni?
I’m now a Philadelphia Eagles fan because my partner and her family are from the Main Line in Philadelphia and they are crazy about the Eagles. It’s been fun to experience the fan side of NFL football, especially in a die-hard city like Philly.
Yes, I watch my friends who are still playing and I view games on that are convenient with my school schedule. Some of my friends are entering their 10th+ season!
8) What was your Jewish life like growing up and how do you connect today?
My family are members of Congregation Ner Tamid, in Palos Verdes, CA. I started attending Hebrew school in 1st grade and went all the way through to my Bar Mitzvah. Studying Hebrew and attending many Saturday services helped build a foundation of discipline and identity as a youngster.
I connect with Judaism today by observing the High Holy Days–Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. And when I can observe Shabbat, which is my favorite way to connect with Judaism, I break bread with the community. In our increasingly productive world, there’s nothing like pausing to celebrate the original weekend–Shabbat.