SPORTS OVERLOAD
CHRIS SCHILLER BALANCES THREE SPORTS CAREERS


By Craig Rybczynski

When the Buffalo Bills traded for quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Schiller at Penn State University, where Chris was watching his sister Katie play her last home game for the Nittany Lions. Following the Penn State women's lacrosse win on Senior Day, Chris hopped in his car and made the six-hour trip back to Rochester and opened up for business on Sunday morning. Schiller is a premium seating sales coordinator for the Buffalo Bills' Rochester Office.



"We worked all night and took a few hours break," said Schiller. "All the people came in and the phones were ringing off the hook. We have sold more season tickets now than we did all of last year after Drew was signed."

Schiller, who graduated from Penn State University with a marketing degree, has been working for the Buffalo Bills for two seasons. The job has allowed the McQuaid Jesuit High School graduate to work in sports, a field that has always interested him. He was a lacrosse standout in high school and college, and now plays lacrosse professionally for the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse and for the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League.




Juggling three sports careers would be tough for anyone, but he admits that he enjoys his hectic schedule. During the National Football League season, a typical week for Schiller includes his normal office hours with the Bills, lacrosse practice one night a week with the Knighthawks, a Friday or Saturday NLL game and a Sunday NFL game. That's a full week for even Deion Sanders. But Schiller has been allotted the time to pursue his dream of playing professional lacrosse by the management at the Bills, something that he really appreciates.

"We have a great organization," said Schiller. "Some people in the office play darts and others play softball, but I just choose to play professional lacrosse. I can practice at night or during the weekends. It keeps me focused and in shape. The people here allow me to play."

Last season was Schiller's first with the Rochester Knighthawks, who acquired him from the Washington Power during the NLL Entry Draft. Earlier in the day, Schiller was traded from the Philadelphia Wings to the Power. The 6-1, 180-pound defenseman had waited a year to get on the floor, only making the practice squad for the NLL champion Wings the previous season.

The 2001-02 season, however, did not go as he expected, as he was hampered by injuries. The only game that Schiller played in was at the First Union Center against the Philadelphia Wings on February 1st. He was playing a regular shift and matching up against Jake Bergey, when his ankle buckled after getting stuck in a seam in the turf. The injury was worse than he initially expected. Schiller had suffered a season-ending ankle subluxation, or partial dislocation of the joint.

"It was no fun sitting on the sidelines," said Schiller. "I can't wait to get back into the competitive mode again. The feeling you have competing against people gets the blood flowing."



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He can't wait to step on the grass field this season to play the type of lacrosse he was raised on in Penfield. "I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for field lacrosse. I have more room to run and I love the outdoors," he said. "I can't wait (to get back on the field).

"I am anxious to prove myself outdoors and translate that into the indoor season."

Rattlers Head Coach Guy Van Arsdale admitted that it might be tough for Schiller to have a year like he did in 2001. It would be hard for any player, going up against some of the best players in the world as a short-stick defenseman. Schiller thrived in that situation last season.

"He had such a great year last year, it will be hard for him to improve," said Van Arsdale. "We'd be tickled to death if he can give us what he did a year ago.

"One thing he has improved on is his strength," added Van Arsdale. "He will always be one of the fastest, if not the fastest player in the MLL. That added strength definitely will help."

Rochester fans will have a chance to watch Schiller play at Frontier Field on June 15th against the Bayhawks. Schiller, who still lives in Penfield, always has a large contingent of fans at the stadium in downtown Rochester.

"I can't wait to see the crowd," he said. "Frontier Field is a great place to play and the fans are definitely the best in the league."

Until the MLL season starts, Schiller will have the Buffalo Bills and Drew Bledsoe to keep him busy.


June 10, 2002