Todd Herremans

Football

Herremans' Focus on 'Dadding,' Giving Kids Similar Small-Town Childhood

By Tom Kendra
Special for Second Half

August 5, 2021

Todd Herremans played 11 seasons in the NFL, battling big-name defensive linemen every Sunday and ascending to celebrity status in Philadelphia.

Made in MichiganBut make no mistake: He’s still a small-town, Ravenna boy at heart.

“We lived in downtown Philly for the last 10 years and then the kids came along,” said Herremans, a 2001 graduate of Ravenna High School. “I tried to make it work, but one day it just hit me that I have no idea how to raise kids in the city.”

So, in a scene straight out of the 1960’s television comedy “Green Acres,” in January he loaded up his wife, Elizabeth, daughter Olivia (5) and son Jaxon (3) and moved to a farm in West Chester, a small town about 50 miles east of Philadelphia.

One of the goals of the move has been to provide his kids with a childhood something like his idyllic upbringing in Ravenna, a rural village in eastern Muskegon County with about 1,200 residents.

Herremans’ father, Paul, is approaching his 31st season as the varsity baseball coach at Ravenna, despite retiring as a math teacher in 2010. He has also coached football and basketball at Ravenna since the 1970s and, as a result, his sons John, Scott and Todd basically grew up under the bleachers.

“I remember being really little and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to be the bat boy,” said Todd Herremans, now 38, whose mother, Marilee, was also a teacher. “Then once I did that, I was itching to put on the pads and the uniforms. Then I couldn’t wait to be on the varsity.”

Todd HerremansHe grew up to be a four-sport athlete at Ravenna – starring in football, basketball and baseball (along with helping out the track & field team in his senior year, throwing the discus and shot put) – and he credits playing multiple sports for helping him not only make it to the NFL, but to stay there for 11 years and remain healthy enough to start 126 of 135 career games.

“There’s no doubt playing other sports helped me make it to the NFL – the footwork I developed playing basketball and things like that,” said Herremans. “But it really helped me stay there. When you play different sports you are in different scenarios and fill different roles on each team. I think I was more adaptable than some of the other guys I played with.”

Herremans earned all-West Michigan Conference honors in football, basketball and baseball at Ravenna, but he was a late bloomer in many ways as his skill set grew into his big frame.

He went on to start for four years at Saginaw Valley State, playing in 48 games and starting 40 of them at left or right offensive tackle. During his senior year at Saginaw Valley he earned first-team Little All-America honors from The Associated Press, which put him firmly on the NFL radar.

He was selected in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, when the Eagles traded up to take him with Green Bay’s pick (126th overall). He started his first NFL game Nov. 27, 2005, and remained a fixture on the Eagles’ offensive front for the next decade.

Herremans, who played at 6-foot-6 and 323 pounds, was known for his consistency and durability, as well as his versatility – playing every interior line position for the Eagles except for center.

The versatility didn’t stop there, however, as he is one of the few interior offensive linemen in NFL history to catch two touchdown passes, one each in 2008 and 2010.

Todd HerremansTodd Herremans

After being released by the Eagles in 2015, he was picked up right away by Indianapolis, where he started two games.

These days, Herremans spends much of his time taking care of his children at the farm in West Chester and also at his cottage on Torch Lake in northern Michigan.

“I do a lot of dadding,” he said with a laugh.

Since his retirement, Herremans and a partner started BodyChek Wellness, a company that makes hemp-based products to help with wellness, balance and recovery. He is also a member of Athletes for Care, a group that advocates for athletes on various issues of health and safety, including the use of cannabis as medicine.

He looks forward to the summer months, when he spends most of his days at his northern Michigan cottage, allowing him a perfect place and opportunity to catch up with his family and friends from both Ravenna and Saginaw Valley.

Even better is having time to watch his kids grow up, which he said would have been nearly impossible during his NFL playing days.

“I have a lot of fun being with them,” Herremans said. “Ever since we moved out to the country, my son has been obsessed with tractors and tools. I love that.”

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PHOTOS: (Top) Past Ravenna standout Todd Herremans, here with the Philadelphia Eagles, spikes after scoring in 2008. (Middle) Herremans with wife Elizabeth and children Olivia and Jaxon. (Below) Todd’s high school memories include kicking field goals and earning the Homecoming crown. (Top photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles; middle photo courtesy of the Herremans family; below photos courtesy of Ravenna High School.)