First-year players reach for Packers roster spot

Ina Liaina (41) and Demetrius Hartsfield (46) stretch during Packers rookie camp on Friday, May 16, 2014.
Ina Liaina (41) and Demetrius Hartsfield (46) stretch during Packers rookie camp on Friday, May 16, 2014.

GREEN BAY – The first day of rookie camp is often compared to the first day of school. There are similarities like new clothes or jerseys, new faces, and some surreal moments.

For Packers second-round pick Davante Adams that moment came when he got to his spot in the Packers locker room.

“It still hasn’t hit me all the way here. I saw the jersey when it was up in my locker and I had to take a picture of it and send it to the fam,” Adams said.

Corey Linsley, a fifth-round pick and lifelong Packers fan got goose bumps the first time he got to go inside Lambeau Field. He also realized getting to put on the green and gold in practice is merely the beginning of the journey.

“Just to put it on but I’ve actually got to earn it and make the roster to call myself a Packer,” Linsley said.

Coach McCarthy emphasized the importance of the rookie camp as they try to build the 90 man roster they take into training camp, which ultimately creates the 53 man roster the Packers will take into the regular season.

“You’re looking for someone that has something special or something that you feel could add to our football team,” McCarthy said.

He added that rookie camp isn’t about how many catches a player makes or passes they complete. The most important thing is giving the coaches a reason to believe. The importance of instilling that belief does vary. Along with the nine draft picks there’s a host of undrafted signees and tryout players hoping to earn what Coach McCarthy dubbed the lottery tick that is an invitation to training camp.

One of those hopefuls is former Boston College Chase Rettig. Without the security that comes with being drafted, Rettig understands the end of his run with the team could come any time.

“The guys that are trying to make it, these are all guys with chips on their shoulders,” Retting said.

Adrian Hubbard, a linebacker out of Alabama, said his undrafted status doesn’t change the attitude he’s approaching camp with.

“The chip is on my shoulder whether I went first round, seventh round, it doesn’t matter I came here to compete,” said Hubbard.

Whether it’s learning the playbook or just getting used to seeing the veterans around the building there will be “rookie moments” for almost all of the rookie orientation camp invitees. First-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix isn’t immune sharing his first interaction with Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“A-Rod came up and spoke to me and I said yes sir to him. You know I watched him as a kid on TV and now to be here with him is a blessing and a dream come true,” Clinton-Dix said ushering smiles and laughs from the assembled media.

The opportunity is here for the Packers rookie camp players to make an impression on the coaching staff and front office. It’s just up to theme to seize the moment.

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