“I taught three classes this morning and that was the buzz – Chris Lindstrom and the new ‘Avengers: End Game’ movie.”
Lindstrom is the first Central Mass. native drafted in the first round since Ron Hallstrom, who was born in Holden, was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 22 pick in the 1982 NFL Draft.
The new Falcon was a T&G Super Team selection, and, as a senior, led the Rams to a Central Mass. Division 4 championship while earning Hometeam Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Police Chief Steven J. Wojnar said he’s known the Lindstroms for years through the father’s coaching, and because their wives are friendly.
The chief sounded ecstatic for both the family and town.
“It’s one of those things where, it’s a source of pride for the entire community,” Chief Wojnar said. “You’re watching ESPN draft night like everyone else. Next thing you see are people you know, or watched grow up, that are now being selected so high and featured prominently.”
ESPN’s coverage included a photo of Chris’s father from his time in the NFL. Chief Wojnar noted the “mustache and curly hair from his 49er days.”
“It was interesting to see a lot of that stuff. Just a great family, and very down to earth, very centered people. They really know their priorities.”
Chief Wojnar credited Lindstrom for working hard to reach his goal.
“He left high school early to go to BC. He had to get all of his schoolwork going, between that and working out, training and everything else, to get to the point he’s at right now. It’s really a great credit to him and his entire family.”
The draft was also a big topic at local businesses.
At Duke’s 21 Sports Bar, a hangout for many in the Shepherd Hill community because it is owned by teacher Shaune Ducharme, bar manager Nancy Shell said its two largest televisions showed the NFL draft Thursday night, relegating the Boston Bruins playoff game to a small screen TV.
Ms. Snell, who also lives near the Lindstroms, said, “This is a big, big thing for Dudley, I believe. It’s just this little town … the focal point is Nichols College.”
The bar manager went on to call the Lindstroms, “A really incredible family unit. They really are. If everybody could be like that it’d be beautiful. Very driven, very focused.”
Seated at a table at Dippin Donuts, Dennis Cregg of Webster, a former umpire who’s a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, said: “I was just glad to see a young man from Dudley have something great happen to him. He’s from a very good family. Everybody’s supportive of that family. I don’t know them, but I know of them. It’s a good thing. Awesome.”
But Mr. Cregg, who called the longest game in baseball history, a 32-inning affair between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester at McCoy Stadium, stated that even though the local kid is now a Falcon: “I hope they don’t beat the Patriots.”
Mark Sutor, owner of Twin City Cleaners, posted a congratulatory message for Lindstrom on a board in front of his business. Mr. Sutor said he watched the first five selections in the draft while flipping to the Bruins game. He said he didn’t learn that Lindstrom had been picked 14th until Friday morning.
Mr. Sutor said he was surprised by how early Lindstrom was selected, given some draft pundits had projected Lindstrom as a second-round pick. He speculated that, because the Falcons’ upper management had ties to the Patriots, the Falcons might have suspected the Patriots wanted Lindstrom.
“I would have loved to see him fall to the Pats,” Mr. Sutor said, before indicating that it could have been a challenge for a Massachusetts kid to play so close to home. “I think that’d be kind of tough,” he said. It will be “good for him to go somewhere else.”