GREEN BAY – The cars and trucks pulled up one by one at the St. Norbert College dorms Tuesday, the unloaded bags and suitcases signaling the start of yet another Packers training camp.
Launched in 1958 by head coach Scott McLean, the 60-year training-camp partnership between the Packers and St. Norbert is the longest in NFL history.
It’s become a rite of passage for every player on the roster. While the team devotes its days to meetings and practice, nights are spent at the private college located in De Pere, Wis., a short 10-minute drive from Lambeau Field.
Veteran Jahri Evans and rookie Josh Jones are on different ends of the NFL spectrum, but both were in the same boat in moving into their Packers dorms for the first time on Tuesday.
Evans, a six-time Pro Bowl guard, had some previous dorm experience with the New Orleans Saints, who held training camp at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., during his first three NFL seasons.
His first move-in at St. Norbert went well outside of Evans getting lost on his way to the dorms. When he saw a horde of media in front of one of the buildings, the veteran guard joked he must finally be in the right place.
“I had to ask for directions,” said Evans with smile. “I got to the university but I had a little trouble finding (the dorms). It’s all good.”
Evans said he didn’t bring too many amenities with him to the dorms. With A/C units and beds already provided, Evans was content with bringing a few sets of comfortable clothes.
Dorm life is nothing too out-of-the ordinary for Jones, a second-round pick out of NC State. He vividly remembers his mom bringing him to college only a few short years ago.
With Netflix readily available on his phone, the rookie safety isn’t too concerned about passing whatever free time he’s afforded. Plus, as a younger player, he’ll share his room with another teammate.
So what’s the biggest thing on Jones’ camp wish list?
“A roommate who doesn’t snore,” Jones laughed. “Whoever your roommate is, you’re going to get to know them pretty well just like how in college you had a roommate in the dorms. Whoever was your roommate was probably your best friend freshman year.”
The rooms aren’t equipped with any mints or cookies on pillows, but players know that’s not what training camp is about. Once the team reports Wednesday, everything centers on football.
“You don’t spend too much time in the dorms in training camp,” Evans said. “You’re basically in practice and in the meeting rooms. The only time you’re in the dorms you’re trying to sleep, but (it’s also) interacting with the guys on the team.”
For a rookie like Jones, Tuesday’s check-in is the culmination of everything he’s worked for since the months leading up to February’s NFL Scouting Combine.
“This is what you’ve been waiting for,” Jones said. “You had a month off. You’ve been on vacation for four or five weeks. Now, it’s back to football. The vacation is over. Now, it’s time to roll.”