Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Anthony Gonzalez, former Ohio State University football star, planning congressional run

In this 2007 file photo, Anthony Gonzalez announces at a news conference that he is entering the NFL draft rather than returning to Ohio State University to play for his senior season. Gonzalez, an Avon Lake native, is seriously considering running for Ohio's 16th Congressional District in 2018, according to Republican sources following the race.(Kiichiro Sato, Associated Press)

By Andrew J. Tobias
August 9, 2017

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Anthony Gonzalez, the St. Ignatius and Ohio State University alum and former NFL player, is considering tackling a second career in politics.

Gonzalez, 32, is holding meetings as he eyes Ohio's 16th Congressional District,
currently represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, according to Republican sources following the race. The unusually shaped 16th District includes Wayne County, and portions of several others, stretching from rural suburbs east of Akron and up to Cuyahoga County's western suburbs. The seat is expected to be free next year because Renacci, a businessman and former Wadsworth mayor, is running for governor rather than seeking re-election.

Gonzalez recently met with the National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP's congressional campaign arm, and expressed his interest in running for office. Although Gonzalez has not publicly discussed the race, a Republican source close to him said he is seriously considering a run, and is close to making a decision. Other GOP candidates who have announced they're running in the May primary for the Republican-leaning district include Stark County State Rep. Christina Hagan and Strongsville State Rep. Tom Patton.

Gonzalez has transitioned into a business career since retiring from the NFL in 2012. He received his MBA from Stanford University in 2014, and in June left his job as chief operating officer of Chalk Schools, an education technology firm in San Francisco, according to his LinkedIn profile. He recently moved to Westlake, which is in the 16th District, and not far from Avon Lake, where he grew up.

Gonzalez played football for St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland before going on to play for Ohio State University. He had a decorated career there on and off the field, and was named an Academic All-American. He played for five seasons for the Indianapolis Colts, which drafted him in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft, before his football career was cut short due to injuries.

Gonzalez studied philosophy at OSU, but was not known during his athletic career as being outspoken about politics. He hails from a family of Cuban-American immigrants who fled Cuba after Fidel Castro came to power, according to a 2016 WKYC interview with his father, the president of a Cleveland metal services company.

Gonzalez did not respond to a request for comment left with Neil Cornrich, a Beachwood-based sports agent who represented him during his NFL career.

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