Trevor Nowaske: Salem graduate continues to make his mark in the NFL

Trevor Nowaske finds his father, James, sitting in the stands at his first career NFL game. Dec. 3, 2023.
Trevor Nowaske finds his father, James, sitting in the stands at his first career NFL game. Dec. 3, 2023.
Renee Nowaske

While less than one percent of all high school football players make it to the NFL, Trevor Nowaske took that as motivation and became the first Salem alumni to reach the NFL since Ron Egloff in 1977.

Trevor Nowaske, a graduate of the class of 2017, has found himself in an elite group of players in Salem history. After signing with his hometown team, the Lions, he became the fourth player in Rocks history to pave his way to the NFL, the first P-CEP alumni to play for the Lions and the eighth in the history of P-CCS to reach the NFL.

Rookie Trevor Nowaske talks with a young fan at Lions Training Camp. August, 2023. (Renee Nowaske)

With all of Nowaske’s success, he had to start somewhere. He says it was undoubtedly at  P-CEP Varsity Stadium, with turf pellets in his cleats, that he knew he could make it far. He says head coach at the time, Kurt Britnell, shaped the start of his career and was the reason he became recognized by colleges.

“I had a lot of good mentors at Salem. Coach Britnell showed me the blueprint to not only be a good athlete, but also a good student,” said Noawske call. “A lot of my coaches were teachers within the district, so it was good to have them around to keep me on a straight arrow throughout high school.”

During his time at Salem Nowaske was a three-sport athlete, adding basketball and track and field to his illustrious football career. Nowaske said he’ll never forget how Salem formed him into the man he is today and he continues to keep in touch with all his former teammates. 

“The relationships and the friendships I built during my time there were incredible. I played a lot of sports in high school and all my guys were all in that circle with me,” said Nowaske. “Even though we weren’t as successful as we wanted it to be for football, we had a good time, and it’s cool to still keep in touch with those guys, for sure.”

With the NFL draft being held in April in Detroit for the first time, Nowaske has had lots of time to reflect on what the draft experience meant to him. 

“It was a day I’ll never forget. It couldn’t have ended any better,” said Nowaske. “It was the perfect ending when signing with my hometown team.”

Nowaske patiently waited in his living room on the final day of the

Salem graduate Trevor Nowaske signs autographs for fans at Lions Training camp in the summer of 2023. (Renee Nowaske)

2023 NFL Draft with his parents, Renee and James Nowaske. His father had a storied football career playing in the NFL for a brief time along with being inducted into the Adrian College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. His mother, Renee, a retired middle school science teacher who taught at East Middle School in P-CCS, was somebody who made sure to be at every game, whether it was when Trevor Nowaske was playing for Our Lady of Good Council or even Saginaw Valley State during college. 

On that last day of the draft, Nowaske was clinging to his seat as Mr. Irrelevant, the final pick of each NFL draft, was being announced by Commissioner Rodger Goodell. He didn’t hear his name. Shortly afterward, Nowaske received a not-so-irrelevant text from his agent telling him his dream of playing for the Lions was coming true. 

Trevor Nowaske made his NFL debut in week 13 of the 2023-24 NFL season as the Lions took on the Saints in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, winning 33-28. During the week 13 win, Nowaske recorded his first tackle in a backup linebacker role. Nowaske says his rookie season couldn’t have turned out any better.

“I didn’t know what to expect going into the week after being called up to the active roster,” said Nowaske. “It was a whirlwind of a week. It just kept working out great in my favor. I’m super thankful to [the Lions] organization, and everything they did for me.”

On December 28, 2023, Nowaske was waived by the Lions and signed

Then Lion, Trevor Nowaske reads the Saints’ offense before the ball is snapped. Dec. 3, 2023 (Renee Nowaske)

just a day later by the Arizona Cardinals. He said it was bittersweet having to leave the Lions but he can’t wait to start putting in the work for his new team.

“At the end of the day [the NFL] is a business, and you have to get used to that. I feel like I built good relationships in Detroit and I have nothing but good things to say about them,” said Nowaske.

Nowaske keeps a positive view for the future.“I’m super excited for the Cardinals though. I have a great opportunity to showcase my talents and build something special there. Unfortunately, [the NFL] is a business and I’ll always cherish my time in Detroit, but I’m excited for my time in Arizona.

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Lucas Gentilia
Lucas Gentilia, Business Manager / Sports Editor
Lucas Gentilia is a senior at Salem High School that loves being surrounded by friends and other energetic people. He is involved in all types of activities, including The National Honor Society, Student Council 2024, Link Crew, the Salem Rocks Baseball Team and The Perspective newspaper staff. His life isn’t always centered around school however; he is in love with music, and always has an Airpod in his ear. He enjoys artists like Mac Miller, Mac Demarco and Kendrick Lamar. In addition, he loves weightlifting, golf and watching sports in person whenever he can.
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