GREEN BAY — Kyle Steuck was sitting in a West De Pere High School coaches’ meeting on Friday when his phone rang.
It was the Green Bay Packers calling from a few minutes down the street.
In a matter of seconds, Steuck transformed from a volunteer assistant football coach at his alma mater to a rookie offensive lineman with a shot at the NFL.
Three months after participating in the Packers’ rookie camp on a tryout basis, Steuck was told by his agent that Green Bay wanted to bring him in for another workout Saturday.
The Packers, nursing several injuries on the interior line, signed Steuck following the workout, threw a No. 77 jersey on him and sent him onto the practice field Sunday.
What a difference 48 hours can make.
“Growing up in Green Bay, it’s something you dream about,” he said. “It’s that ‘yes’ moment where you’ve been working so hard and now it’s here.”
The Packers didn’t have a spot available after Steuck’s tryout in May but told the 6-foot-2, 310-pound offensive lineman from Northern Michigan to stay in shape and be ready if they needed him.
Meanwhile, Steuck worked out at Synergy Sports in Ashwaubenon with former Packers center Evan Smith and De Pere native Drew Nowak, who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The chance to train with two NFL centers was “astronomically” beneficial for Steuck, who balanced his training with assisting West De Pere’s football team.
In case the call didn’t come, Steuck has been planning for life after football. He was a student teacher at Ashwaubenon High School last year and was scheduled to be a teaching aide in the West De Pere school district during this upcoming year.
Instead, Steuck becomes one of the distinguished few to sign with the hometown team.
Coincidentally, the Packers now have two Green Bay area natives on the roster with Steuck and rookie punter Peter Mortell (Notre Dame Academy) after going four years since the last area signing (Southwest alumnus Drew Vanderlin in 2012).
“Personally I think it’s a little bit funny because the first eight years we didn’t have anyone from the state of Wisconsin, particularly the University,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said.
“Now, it’s like an overflow. I think it’s great to have an opportunity with your hometown team and the uniqueness of growing up in this city with the Packers here. It’s obviously special. It’s an opportunity hopefully he takes full advantage of.”
Sunday’s practice was a walk down memory lane for Steuck, who used to attend practice with his family when he was little and bring his bike for Packers players to ride.
He had no shortage of support at practice with some of his former students at Ashwaubenon and a group of family members cheering him on – the same family that encouraged him to stick with his dream even when the phone wasn’t ringing.
“Growing up in Green Bay, it’s kind of the big thing,” Steuck said. “You watch practices as a kid and ask for someone to grab your bike. Today, I was the one doing that. It was a dream come true.”
Coming in late, Steuck knows he has a lot of late nights ahead of him to pick up the playbook. He recalls “bits and pieces” from the rookie camp, but there’s still a lot to learn.
Steuck has been to a bunch of Packers’ games in his 23 years, but he’ll get the unique opportunity to run through the Lambeau Field tunnel Thursday night against Oakland.
Whether he plays is uncertain, but it would still be a gratifying moment for a lifelong Packer fan who was in a high school coaches’ meetings two days ago.
“It’s going to be sweet,” Steuck said. “I mean you dream about going through that tunnel. You sit in the stands watching it, wondering what it must feel like, idolizing those guys and now I can finally run out of the tunnel myself.”
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