From East Meadow to the NFL
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Though it’s been 10 years since Ohrnberger graduated from East Meadow High, he hasn’t lost his local roots. He still chats regularly with former high school teammates and coaches, attends East Meadow football events and speaks with Mascia about twice a month — including right after the Chargers upset the Bengals. “I told him, ‘I don’t know if it was possible for you to have played any better,’” Mascia recounted. “‘I couldn’t be more proud.’”
Returning to the locker room after the game, Ohrnberger was greeted by more than 50 text messages from friends, congratulating him on his performance. “The majority of them came from back home,” he said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to feel like you have your town really supporting you. And that’s what it felt like after that game.”
Though Ohrnberger had been on playoff teams with the Patriots, he was inactive for their 2010 and ’11 postseason games, and spent the entire 2011 season on injured reserve. But he said he has taken the ups and downs of his career in stride, and learned to appreciate all of the positives. “There’s very few NFL careers where a player gets drafted by a team, starts a bunch of years, wins the Super Bowl and retires,” he said. “It’s very rare to have that circumstance.
“Knowing that, and having a better perspective on that,” Ohrnberger continued, “I really do try to relish the moments that I know are going to be memorable.” Those moments, he said, include not only the playoff victory, but also when he signed contracts with the Cardinals and Chargers. “There’s so many moments where you have good feelings, and say, ‘Wow, I’m still at it, I’m still doing this, and still doing a pretty good job.’”
Maintaining his local roots