GREEN BAY – Vince Biegel’s childhood dream is on the verge of coming true.
The Packers activated the Wisconsin Rapids native and fourth-round rookie draft pick off the physically unable to perform list Friday, clearing a path for Biegel to potentially make his NFL debut as early as this Monday against Detroit.
It’s been a long waiting process for the 6-foot-3, 246-pound linebacker, who was sidelined for the entire offseason program and training camp after undergoing foot surgery shortly after the Packers’ rookie orientation camp in May.
Biegel returned to practice on Oct. 18, opening a three-week window to add him to the 53-man roster.
“The best thing I can do is go out there, show I’m in game shape and make some plays out there and kind of continue to get better every single day,” said Biegel on Thursday. “I’m excited for the opportunities that come down the road here.”
Biegel started 40 of the 54 games he played at the University of Wisconsin, finishing seventh in program history with 21½ sacks and 10th in tackles for a loss (39½). He also recorded 191 tackles (117) with three forced fumbles and two recoveries from 2013-16.
It’s believed his past history in the Badgers’ 3-4 defense should hasten his transition to Green Bay’s scheme, though it’s likely his first opportunity to play could come on special teams.
Despite his successes as a pass-rusher, Biegel continued to play special teams throughout his four years in Madison.
“Even my last year, I was on onside kickoff, I played punt, I played some reps on punt return and I had kickoff reps,” Biegel said. “I'm very familiar with special teams and I'm sure they'll be using me in that aspect as well.”
Biegel has quickly endeared himself to his fellow linebackers through his thorough approach in the meeting room and upbeat attitude despite the setback.
Prior to Biegel’s activation Friday, linebacker Clay Matthews said the rookie linebacker looked like he was ready to go after taking scout-team reps without any apparent limitations.
“He’s looking good and getting back into football shape after being off for so long,” Matthews said. “I know you guys are looking forward to what he can do, but us as well, having a kid who’s hungry to come in here and prove himself, and hopefully show something too in the meantime.”