Story by Drew Gregory
He trots on the field and takes his position behind the long snapper and, with a few swings of his right leg and a simple nod of his head, Chris Heale lets them know he’s ready to crank out another booming punt.
Heale came to the Vikings in 2007 from Round Rock, Texas, and after a red-shirt year as a freshman, Heale boomed punts for
the next four years.
At the 2011 football banquet, Heale was given his second consecutive special teams MVP and his third consecutive all-conference award. Heale earned the special team’s player of the week honors five times in his career and helped the Vikings win the field position battle.
“If you have a Chris Heale on your team, you can take your time on offense knowing that your punter can bail you out of bad field position and let your defense go to work,” said special teams coordinator Barry Rave.
In several games throughout his career, Heale propelled the Vikings to a win with stellar punting, the most notable games as Chris recalls are the 2009 Central Methodist, 2010 Baker University, and one of the most important games of his career, the 2011 Mid America Nazarene game, where Heale’s punting helped the Vikings knock off the defending HAAC champions.
Heale is now pursuing a professional career, NFL or CFL it doesn’t matter. “To me, I am just trying to play at the next level,” Heale said.
Currently Heale and his agent Gerald Greene are seeking try-out opportunities.
Heale doesn’t have the luxury of ESPN highlights or prime-time games, so, in an effort to get noticed, Heale has gone viral with his “resume” consisting of highlight films, statistics and awards on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Several teams have shown interest but “it’s too early to tell” what is going to happen. Heale is staying focused on his goal and realizes that it is just a “waiting game” for now.
Most likely, Heale won’t get picked up in April’s NFL draft but the possibilities of being signed as a free agent are promising.
“I have a lot of people trying to help me out,” Heale said. Coming from a small school could hinder him in some ways but one could consider Chris Heale to be a diamond in the rough.