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Notre Dame Football: Former DT Kona Schwenke Continues Pursuit of NFL Dream in The Spring League

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Schwenke will play two games in development league in April.

Purdue v Notre Dame

Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive tackle Kona Schwenke is looking to prove his worth to a NFL club by joining The Spring League, which bills itself as “an elite developmental league & scouting event for professional football talent.”

The league will play games between April 7 and April 12 in Austin, Texas. The four teams’ rosters include guys looking for redemption (such as former Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel, who played briefly with the Cleveland Browns), guys returning from injury (former Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Greg Childs, who hasn’t played since tearing tendons in both knees during a 2012 game with the Minnesota Vikings) and guys who made it to NFL minicamps or practice squads, but never saw the field.

Although not formally affiliated with the NFL, the showcase did attract scouts from 10 NFL teams and two Canadian football teams last year. Brian Woods, the founder and CEO of The Spring League, told the Austin American-Statesman that 20 NFL teams ultimately requested video from the tryouts. Twenty players who participated in the league last year got NFL camp invites.

Schwenke is no stranger to NFL camps. The 285-pound lineman was undrafted after graduating college in 2014, but appeared on the practice squads of the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and New York Jets that year. The following year, he was on the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks, but tore his ACL during a 2015 preseason game.

Schwenke hasn’t been part of an NFL club since August of 2016. He’ll be on Team North, which will be outfitted in orange and coached by Steve Fairchild, who coached quarterbacks and offenses in college from 1982 to 2015 — with a NFL detour to the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams from 2001-2005.

Schwenke played in 31 games during his Notre Dame career, starting nine of those. He collected 30 tackles, 1 12 for loss, sacked a QB once and recovered a fumble once.

For more on The Spring League, visit their official site.