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Jeff Saturday handles his demotion with class

Reggie Wayne,  Jeff Saturday AP

Many veteran players can make things uncomfortable when their time is up.

But Packers center Jeff Saturday was, well, mature in the way he handled his benching. He’s being replaced by third-year player Evan Dietrich-Smith, a player best known for having been stomped.

But there was no bitterness from Saturday, who led fan voting at his position for the NFC Pro Bowl team (which tells you more about fan voting than Saturday).

Obviously, as a player, you want to play. But I support Evan and I know he’s a great player. He’ll get the job done and do what he needs to do to play well and get us a win,” Saturday said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. “Obviously, I [was] a stop-gap here. There’s no surprise as far as that stuff goes. You’re 37 years old. I’ve been around this thing long enough to know that it’s not a long future. I think if ‘Deedy’ plays well, I wouldn’t think they’d go back and make another change. That’s how I look at it. . . .

“We’re at two totally different points of our career. His is on the up-ramp, mine is on the way out. This is football. It’s a business at the end of the day. I think ‘Deeds’ is going to do a great job and give us a good chance to win games.”

For a guy who has started every game he’s played since 2000 (202 games), made five Pro Bowls and was named to two All-Pro teams, it would have been easy for him to be bitter, or even absent.

Coach Mike McCarthy gave him an out, never announcing the switch, and Saturday admitted the change wasn’t made for medical reasons.

“I’d be lying if I told you it’s not disappointing and tough. I’m here to play football,” Saturday said. “I told coach, I came here to help win a Super Bowl. Winning the NFC North is great, but that wasn’t why I was here. I looked for more of the postseason. It’s disappointing from that side.

“[But] you can’t be affected by your circumstances. I’m a member of the Packers. It’s not just me. If coach McCarthy thinks that gives us the best chance to win and go on and do things in the postseason, then that’s what it is. As a player, it’s always disappointing whenever someone else goes in front of you. It’s a tough thing to deal with. But I’m going to deal with it.

“Here’s the one thing: I can look at my family, I can look at all my players and say I put the best I could be out there. If that’s not good enough and somebody else is better, then they deserve to play. And I’ve always felt like that. I respect ‘Deedy’ enough to say if that’s his, then he needs to take it and go do a good job with it.”

Even if he’s no longer among the five best options on an offensive line that’s leaked all year, Saturday showed once again why he’s one of the most respected players in the league.

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34 Responses to “Jeff Saturday handles his demotion with class”
  1. teal379 says: Dec 22, 2012 7:54 AM

    Jeff’s been a class act with everything. Not only this but since he’s come to GB – total pro and great guy.

    I know the term “Packer people” is used as a punchline sometimes but it was coined for guys just like him.

    Good luck Jeff, no matter what the future holds…

  2. starrtodowler says: Dec 22, 2012 7:55 AM

    VERY much like the way Fuzzy Thurston handled being replaced by Gale Gillingham on the Packers’ O-line back in the 1960′s. Both of these gentlemen are class acts.

  3. howiefeltersnatch says: Dec 22, 2012 8:00 AM

    Eyelashes

  4. packersrule12 says: Dec 22, 2012 8:00 AM

    First I’ve heard of this. Maybe the OL can get things together in these last two games and go on a run.

  5. countyk66ers says: Dec 22, 2012 8:04 AM

    With the NFC North in hand Mike McCarthy is trying something to fix his porous line and average run blocking.

  6. riggo08 says: Dec 22, 2012 8:04 AM

    A player that puts the team before himself. That’s exactly what kids need to see in this world. All class and I only wish him the best!

  7. skinsfan56 says: Dec 22, 2012 8:06 AM

    Such a class guy, he should spend his post career time teaching the younger players how manage success, put team first and to act in a manner similar to him.

  8. dsonashville28 says: Dec 22, 2012 8:24 AM

    I looked up class in the dictionary. Jeff Saturday’s picture was there. I’m a fan of a former division rival (Tennessee Titans), but I have the utmost respect for how good Jeff Saturday was for so long. You are deserving of a place in Canton when you’re eligible, Mr. Saturday.

  9. theodorethompson says: Dec 22, 2012 8:25 AM

    Maybe Saturday could kick…..

  10. chuckiesez says: Dec 22, 2012 8:26 AM

    First class, first ballot HOF when time comes.

  11. downslide33 says: Dec 22, 2012 8:28 AM

    Total class guy. This guy has had a great career and played in front of 2 of the all time greatest qbs.

    See you on ESPN next year , Mr Saturday.

  12. msclemons67 says: Dec 22, 2012 8:44 AM

    Jeff Saturday has been a class act his entire career. I’m guessing he’ll have a lot of options in broadcasting if he chooses that route.

  13. jc1958cool says: Dec 22, 2012 9:06 AM

    now i know why he got a deal done with mr kraft, that could be his BIGGEST legacy !!!

  14. dontasemebro says: Dec 22, 2012 9:08 AM

    I remember seeing Saturday…in the park…I think it was the 4th of July.
    Great career Jeff! Good Luck!

  15. electionconfidential says: Dec 22, 2012 9:13 AM

    Maybe he should have gone to Denver where they wouldn’t dare cut him as long as Manning plays…

  16. 1oldpro says: Dec 22, 2012 9:23 AM

    Wow!! Snapping the ball to Peyton and then to Aaron. Some guys are not only good, but blessed as well. Take a bow. See ya in Canton.

  17. gtodriver says: Dec 22, 2012 9:24 AM

    Saturday may very well be a classy guy.

    “But there was no bitterness from Saturday, who led fan voting at his position for the NFC Pro Bowl team (which tells you more about fan voting than Saturday).”

    The fact that the Packer fans voted an aging veteran that their own HC realizes is over the hill says volumes of the integrity of fan voting.

  18. leatherface2012 says: Dec 22, 2012 9:25 AM

    i would have absolutely blasted mccarthy and then called crosby mr. clank one

  19. pauliepacker says: Dec 22, 2012 9:41 AM

    A CLASSY center that got to play in front of two CLASSY QB’s. Smart move by the Packers. Try shuffling the line after the NFCN clinch. Why not? Try it with some other players, too. You can always put guys back for the playoffs and Super Bowl…

  20. houndog50 says: Dec 22, 2012 9:55 AM

    gtodriver says: Dec 22, 2012 9:24 AM

    Saturday may very well be a classy guy.
    The fact that the Packer fans voted an aging veteran that their own HC realizes is over the hill says volumes of the integrity of fan voting.
    —————————————————-
    The fact that you and the other 127 fans of your team couldn’t do the same for one of your players speaks volumes for your bitterness! Take a hike crybaby, do your whining somewhere else!

  21. houndog50 says: Dec 22, 2012 9:59 AM

    Has anyone else noticed that while they have not been silenced, the Steeler’s fans no longer identify themselves?

  22. pondbridge says: Dec 22, 2012 10:07 AM

    Come to NE and help out Dante on OL coaching before taking over there, Jeff.

  23. anarchopurplism says: Dec 22, 2012 10:43 AM

    This guy embodies Colt Football. He is a true Colt.

  24. anarchopurplism says: Dec 22, 2012 10:46 AM

    In all seriousness, this is the kind of thing that kids need to see on Sportscenter & halftime segments.

    Tired of the TO type shows & the love me some me-isms that permeates our culture.

    I will be re-reading Saturday’s words.

  25. chi01town says: Dec 22, 2012 11:07 AM

    Most respected players in the NFL?
    NOT in Greenbay!! Saturday shouldnt have went to the Packers and if he still wants to play he should get out of there right now. Dont even wait until next season

  26. matckeeper says: Dec 22, 2012 11:08 AM

    I’m surprised that this is happening now. E.D.S. must be playing pretty well at C in practice….I didn’t think Saturday was playing that poorly in games, at least no worse than the Packers LT and RT are.
    Anyway, pure class.
    Goes to show how teams like the Colts and Packers do business and take care of players. If this happens to most teams there is major dysfunction to follow in the press and locker-room.

  27. tonyugoh says: Dec 22, 2012 12:11 PM

    Can’t wait to see him and Peyton enshrined in Canton one day and having their names next to Marvin, Edge, Reggie, Dwight, and Mathis in the Colts ring of honor.

  28. threedeep1998 says: Dec 22, 2012 12:18 PM

    Love that Packer fans always use the term “classy”. If this guy was a Bear you’d hate him.

  29. axespray says: Dec 22, 2012 4:02 PM

    chi01town says:
    Dec 22, 2012 11:07 AM
    “Most respected players in the NFL?
    NOT in Greenbay!! ”
    —————————–
    your QB is Jay Cutler – your WR is Brandon Marshall – Your Linebacker hates the fans…
    Wanna talk class/respect ?

  30. packman15 says: Dec 22, 2012 4:21 PM

    He is a class act.

    With Barclay ill it looks like Jeff will keep playing though.

  31. patsfan13 says: Dec 22, 2012 6:49 PM

    Saturday is a great football player, and all around class act. His empathy to Mr. Kraft after the loss of his wife showed that.

  32. jasonculhane says: Dec 23, 2012 10:40 AM

    Jeff was a great center about 5 years ago. He’s gotten by with his ability to communicate at the line of scrimmage, should have probably retired last year, but certainly show’d resiliance.

    With that being said, Indy had no running game during his decline and the Packers are about at bad. Common denominator? Jeff Saturday at center. In Jeff’s prime though he could run block and was the best center at his position. And for his size, he really shouldn’t of been. But he had great technique, and longevity.

    All the problems aren’t on Jeff though. Rodgers holds on to the ball at times or maybe too often trying to bypass a checkdown for something further down field. This switch will help but its not going to solve everything.

  33. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Dec 23, 2012 10:51 AM

    The Pro Bowl is a complete joke! Players who are not the best at their position on their team are voted in by fans.

    Then they show up and go through the motions trying to not touch the QB with a sack or anything.

  34. danlittle1989 says: Jan 24, 2013 11:16 PM

    come back to indy, we still love you.

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