Schwartz and his brother Mitchell, who plays with the Cleveland Browns, are among a handful of Jewish NFL players who face the dilemma as the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, coincides with the start of the regular season, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.
"It's important to me to honor my tradition," the 27-year-old Schwartz said. "But I know I have a job to do."
"I know I'll have my job for only a certain number of years, and I'll have the rest of my life to go to services and do all that," he added.
When Yom Kippur begins Sept. 13, Schwartz won't be able to join his family and fiance in the traditional 24-hour fast. Instead, he will spend the following day at meetings with his teammates during the day and the team hotel that night.
He avoids comparisons with Sandy Koufax, the Los Angeles Dodger who refused to pitch game one of the World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur.
"It's tough living up to that sometimes," Schwartz said. "But we're in two different situations, two different points in our career."
"It would be hard for the sixth or seventh guy in the offensive line to tell coach, 'Hey, I'm going to sit this one out, because I have to go to services'," Schwartz added. "Koufax did a great thing, and he's an inspiration to Jewish athletes."
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