Davis Tackling New Challenges


For retired Packers long snapper Rob Davis, the transition into his post-football career has been a seamless one, and that is exactly what he is hoping to help current Packers achieve when their playing days end.

When Davis announced his retirement from the NFL in March after 11 years with Green Bay and 12 years in the league, it didn't take him long to move into the next phase of his career. Later that same month he was appointed the team's director of player development, a position he had his eye on throughout his time with the Packers.

"My years in the NFL were very challenging, but now I am looking to be challenged in a different way and I am excited about that," Davis said. "I made it to the highest mountain in my profession as a football player, so now I am back down at the bottom trying to make it up another mountain, and that's exciting."

In his current role with the team, Davis will assist players away from the field as they get acclimated to life as a professional athlete and help them prepare for their life after football. The player development program, a league-wide initiative, focuses on the areas of continuing education, player assistance, financial education, and the career internship program.

"I felt like this was one of the better areas that I could work in because I had the locker room presence with my peers as a guy who was a leader," Davis said. "It was a pretty simple formula. I just worked hard and it worked, and that's what I'll teach the young players that come through this door."

Davis gained that respect in that locker room through not only hard work, but by playing through injuries and preparing and performing with a level of professionalism. He played in 167 consecutive games with the Packers, the third longest streak in team history. Only Brett Favre (255) and Forrest Gregg (187) played in more consecutive games.

Even though the 39-year-old Davis enjoyed a long career, his route to the NFL was not an easy one, which is something that he can point to as he works to guide other players.

Davis originally entered the NFL with the N.Y. Jets as a non-drafted free agent in 1993 out of Shippensburg (Pa.) University. He was waived by the Jets in back-to-back training camps in '93 and '94, played for Baltimore of the Canadian Football League in 1995, and went to camp with the Kansas City Chiefs in '96 before being released again.

After finally breaking through later that month and earning a spot on Chicago's roster, he had to deal with the disappointment of being released again that next summer by the Bears. He then went on to sign with Green Bay midway through the 1997 season, which was the beginning of an 11-year marriage with the Packers that will continue on.

"Once I did make it into the pros, I knew that coming from a small school and being a guy that has been cut a few times, all of those things were working against me so I had to work that much harder," Davis said. "At least in my mind I told myself that and it kept me humble and it kept me hungry."

Having been exposed to the precarious nature of the NFL early in his career, Davis wanted to begin preparing for life after football and expressed an interest early on in working in the area of player development. He interned with the league's program during a summer and with the Packers' program under Gill Byrd in 1999.

In Davis' final season as a player in 2007, he assisted interim director of player development Tim Terry, who also worked in the team's personnel department, before being named to the position full-time in March.

"I had been seeking it for quite some time," Davis said. "I thought that would be a position if I wanted to stay under the NFL shield. I knew I didn't have an interest in coaching and I didn't have an interest in scouting, but I wanted to be a part of the NFL and the Green Bay Packers organization and I thought this was a place to get started and add some value."

Davis will spend much of his time assisting players if they want to go back to school to complete their degrees, intern at companies in the community to gain real-world work experience, and providing money management advice and counseling if needed.

{sportsad300}"Most guys that have made it to the NFL have never had a job before," Davis said. "We try to encourage them to get out into the workplace to get some valuable experience as our careers are pretty unpredictable. I think about five years is the average (career length) now, so we try to encourage guys to get out there and get some work experience and maybe find what their passion is away from football."

Davis has introduced many of these opportunities that the team can assist with when the Packers' new crop of draft picks and rookie free agents arrived a couple of weeks ago. For those wide-eyed players, the adjustment to life in the NFL will be an imposing one.

"I would hope that they see me in that light (as someone they can approach)," Davis said. "I did quite a bit of that as a player. I consider myself a very observant person and if I see a guy, whether it be personally or professionally, who is down and out and maybe needs a little pick-me-up, I've never had a problem going over and extending my hand to that man and telling them I'm here for them. I think that is just part of being a good teammate."

As Davis looks back at his career, including the 167 consecutive games and playing in Super Bowl XXXII, he expresses pride in the trait that will benefit him the most in the next chapter of his life -- his ability to earn the trust and respect of his peers.

"That part has been very rewarding for me for the simple fact that I believe I was able to accomplish something from a respect standpoint that a lot of players never get to experience," Davis said. "To have genuine respect from your peers, I think that was probably the highlight of my career."

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