Welcome to Green Bay!
It’s a day that every boy dreams about as a kid but only a few get a chance to live out. Today is the day that the 2012 Packers draft class reports to Green Bay for the first time. Eight draft picks, about twenty undrafted free agents, and a few space fillers tryout players will work through the weekend getting their first taste of the NFL life.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the obvious things will take place; meet the coaches, receive the playbook, and get a tour of the facilities. However, Green Bay is very different. For a lot of these rookies, it will be a huge adjustment from what they are privy with. So as a public service, here are a few extra bullet points for the incoming draft class.
- Applebee’s is not the only restaurant in Green Bay like Ryan Longwell once said. The area is also a home to a Chili’s, an Olive Garden, a Denny’s and a Red Lobster. If you are willing to drive 20-minutes to Appleton, you will find a TGI Friday’s!!!
- If you do drive from Green Bay to Appleton that smell on HWY 41 is normal. It’s called Kaukauna.
- Traffic barrels are to Wisconsin what palm trees are to Florida, guns are to Texas, muggings are to New York and earthquakes are to California.
- Learn to hunt, fish, bowl or golf. If you don’t, you will play a lot of video games to pass your time.
- You now play for the largest ownership group in sports. Thousands of fans have a sheet of paper that makes them believe they are an owner and they love to let you hear about it. They also like to get mad at me for comments like the one I just made.
- Practice your bike riding skills. No, not Big Ben crotch rocket style…Purple Huffy style. The last thing you want to do is bust your stuff in-front of the huge crowds that come and watch you practice.
- Yup, people will watch you practice. I know, it’s crazy!!! The funny thing about the whole thing is every cheer that goes towards a play in a positive way overshadows a mistake that was also made on the same play. The owners crowd doesn’t realize this but I am sure the coaches do.
- A great way to get on the good side of your teammates is learn backgammon, especially on offense! Every time I have been in the locker-room for camps over the last 8-years covering this team, backgammon has been a fixture. The QB’s specifically. If you are WR/TE, this may be a chance to get on their good side and get a more few balls coming your way.
- Just because your locker is in the big room and not the “Green Mile” means nothing. A handful of players in the auxiliary locker-room make the roster (or practice squad) every year just like names are replaced in the big room with a generic Packers name plate.
- Get ready to autograph an Aaron Rodgers or Clay Matthews jersey. Fans don’t care who you are, if you put on the helmet you will be asked to sign anything and everything Packer related.
- If the team wants to take a picture without you, just leave it be. Nick Barnett didn’t and now he is in Buffalo.
- Speaking of Nick Barnett, there are no night clubs in Green Bay for a reason. Nick Barnett tried that and again, he is in Buffalo.
- It’s cold in the summer, fall and winter. Get used to it!
- With the cold comes snow. It takes at least a foot before anything shuts down.
- And lastly, you will be noticed in public. The better you are, the more you will not be able to hide from the masses when you are out and about. I guess you can take that the other way too if you want.
Hopefully, some insight will be beneficial to the Class of 2012 during their first weekend and season in Green Bay!