Greg Jennings reflects on a great Green Bay tradition

AP

During a summer vacation in Wisconsin when I was 10 or 11, I convinced Mom and Grandma to stop the van in Green Bay so that I could see the Packers sweating through a training camp practice. But what really struck me wasn’t the practice, it was what happened after the practice: Local kids lined up on their bikes and waited for the players, who would hand the kids their helmets and hop on the bikes to ride back to the locker room, while the kids hustled to keep up alongside them. I hadn’t known until that day that it’s a longstanding tradition in Green Bay that the local kids get to interact with the players like that at training camp, but when I saw it my thought was that the kids in Green Bay are the luckiest kids on earth.

Packers receiver Greg Jennings says the players feel lucky, too.

In an interview on NBC SportsTalk, Jennings was asked about his favorite tradition about football in Green Bay, and he answered, “For me it probably is the bikes.”

“Just seeing how you can light up a kid’s day,” Jennings said. “You can impact a life in so many different ways, and you have a 300-plus pound lineman running up to a kid and saying, ‘I want your bike,’ that impression will go a long way and that’s a memory that will last him a lifetime.”

There’s no professional sports team in America that has a relationship with its community like the Packers have with Green Bay.

Here’s the video of Jennings’ interview:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

26 responses to “Greg Jennings reflects on a great Green Bay tradition

  1. I will admit that’s pretty damn cool, although as a child I’d be a little nervous if someone as big as BJ Raji chose my bike.

  2. The simplicity of life and the one-track football mind is what keeps players focused on what’s important in Green Bay. The football. As it should be, too.

    Gotta love it.

  3. at 27 years old, id have no shame standing there with those kids and my 10 speed just hoping! haha

  4. Haters can hate but that is just another reason we feel so passionately about OUR team. The players respect the fans because the fans respect the players. So cut us down all you want, it’s just motivation for us to keep on doing what we do, support our team.

  5. I remember back in the 70’s we would take family trips to Green Bay around the time of training camp. I used to get so jealous of the local kids who were able to bring their bikes for a Packer to ride, while mine was sitting at home, 4 hours away.

    I’ll never forget the image of Mike McCoy, #76, a DT who must have weighed around 300 lbs., riding a little kids bike across the parking lot.

  6. The Cowboys marketing team notwithstanding, the Packers are, truly, America’s team.

    And Wisconsin is just great, too. I mean, how can you not like a place whose primary products are football, beer, cheese, and brats.

  7. Great tradition and a nice story to remind everyone that, while the NFL is absolutely a business, football is still a game and fans love the people playing the game. Keep the next generation interested in the game we all love.

  8. I remember going to camp when I was 14 or so and a rookie 7th round receiver by the name of Donald Driver signed autographs for hours. A few years later, some buddies and I went to camp as college kids just to watch the team practice. That 7th round receiver had made a name for himself by then, but there he was, still signing autographs for every kid that asked. Most players were like that. God Bless Wisconsin. God Bless the Green Bay Packers. Go Pack Go.

  9. Not a Packer fan but this organization just seems to get it right. From the top all the way down.

    Very cool.

    Best cheese i ever ate was in Madison, WI.

  10. I was one of those kids there with my bike during the Lindy Infante years. The first year I stopped going was Mike Holmgren’s first year as coach. One day I decided to just go by and watch all the other kids waiting for the players to come out of the locker room (by the loading dock). I remember seeing Brett Favre come out. Everyone kind of ignored him because he really was a nobody at that time. I remember saying to myself “THAT’s the guy we traded a 1st round pick for?!?! What was Wolf thinking?!?!” Boy I couldn’t have been more wrong with my first impression.

  11. I live approximately 45 minutes south of Lambeau. My son was maybe 10 years old and BEGGED me to load his bike onto the car’s bike rack so he could get one of the Packers to ride it. I can’t believe I agreed to that but, 11-years later…he still talks about that day.

    Mike McCoy (mentioned previously) was a HUGE man. I stood in line behind him at a church picnic when I was maybe 12 or 13 … he was also a heckuva gentleman too. One of my all-time favorite Packers.

  12. I hear they are thinking of doing this in the Redskins training camp.

    The “fan friendly” Skins would be (after already charging folks to pay to park and pay to watch practice) renting bikes to kids for $10 a session. Then they too can offer up a “Packer experience” as the players ride the bikes to the locker room area after practice. But remember kids–NO bringing your own bike and NO refund if your bike is not chosen by a player.

    But seriously…as someone who grew up going to school with kids whose dad’s were Packer coaches, had Packer players living on my middle class street (that’s when NFL players worked off season jobs and before the middle class was made extinct by Republicans), caddied for players at Oneida, and had out of towner’s pay $3 to park on our lawn and driveway during game days this story makes me realize just how old I am-and how lucky I was to grow up in a place and a time that others can only fantasize about.

  13. Packers are insanely deep at WR, but they need to find the money to keep Jennings there. Once Driver is gone, Jennings will become the embodiment of “Packer Person.” He’s class all the way.

  14. Green Bay is very family friendly. We take our kids to Green Bay during training camp every summer for a couple days. Whether a Packer fan or not, it is a great experience–you get so close to the players. Autographs for your kids are relatively easy. And the city of Green Bay has alot to do that is inexpensive yet fun for your kids. They have this dime-a-ride amusement park that is perfect for kids 12 and under. Great places to eat if you like Wisconsin fare and great beer. And beautiful Door County is right next door. For sure, it isn’t up there with Monterey, CA or Breckenridge, CO or Marco Island, FL, but if you’re from the Midwest and want an inexpensive yet fun time for you and your kids, going to Green Bay for training camp is a great experience.

  15. The humility factor shines very brightly in Green Bay. It’s a very, very attractive attribute that is present up and down and around and through that organization.

    I think that humility must be high up on the check list when the Pack evaluates players for the draft. Amen to that. That’s a big key, IMHO, to the relative success of the Green Bay Packer team.

    May our Lord protect them from injury this season and bless Wisconsin with many more reasons to cheer and celebrate for the Pack.
    .

Leave a Reply