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Gado Shines On Short Notice


Green Bay Packers fans are often recognized as some of the most knowledgeable and loyal fans in all of sports.

However, you'd probably have to look far and wide to find the die-hards who knew anything about Samkon Gado before Sunday's game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Judging by his performance against one of the top ranked defenses in the NFL, it appears as if Gado is on his way to making himself known to the Packer allegiance as well as opposing defenses.

Gado, who entered the week behind Tony Fisher and Reshard Lee on the depth chart at running back, got his chance when Fisher had to sit out the game with a rib injury and Lee lost an early fumble.

After receiving one carry last week at Cincinnati, Gado was anything but eased into action against the Steelers. The Nigerian-born running back, who played his college ball at Liberty, finished the day with 62 yards and a touchdown. At first glance, those numbers may not knock your socks off, but when you consider the circumstances, the story becomes impressive.

After all, Gado who spent a month on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad, has only been with the Packers organization since October 17th when he was added to the Packers practice squad. He was signed to the active roster on October 29th and despite averaging 6.0 yards a carry, Gado started just two games while at Liberty.

It didn't take long for Gado to impress at least a few of his teammates on Sunday, however.

"As far as what I saw on the sidelines and when I was in the game with him, I thought he did an exceptional job," fullback William Henderson said. "He ran hard, he ran smart, he protected the ball, and he did the little things. Whatever he needed to do, he went out and executed it. He didn't try to do more than his job and that's the way you're supposed to play football.

He's just a guy who wants to make a difference in his life and a difference on this team and I appreciate that."

Brett Favre echoed Henderson's sentiments.

"Sam Gado played his heart out," Favre said. "I am so proud of him, he ran hard today."

According to Gado, it was Favre who deserved much of the credit for the running back's strong performance.

"He's not uptight," Gado said referring to Favre. "He's very encouraging and very loose. He was giving comments like 'Come on Sam, let's just have fun.'

"And that helps because the biggest thing for someone in my position is you don't want to be the guy who got Brett Favre sacked. Because that will be the last time you play. Of course, Brett Favre doesn't carry himself that way so he really helped."

Gado admitted that he couldn't afford to be in awe of a player like Favre, although at times it was challenging.

"I had to get over it quick," Gado explained. "If I wanted to do well, I had to get over the mystique. Brett Favre's locker is one down from mine, and he's so darn to earth. That has made it easy to take away the mystique. Once that was done, it was just a matter of making sure I did my assignments."

Although Head Coach Mike Sherman had yet to view the game film, his initial reaction of Gado's contribution was a positive one.

"I thought that Sam did a very good job for a guy who hadn't played before," Sherman said. "The number one priority was to hang on to the football. That was the most critical thing. He did that, and he scored a touchdown. ."

It's not in Gado's nature to feel too good about himself, however. He even went as far as to say he was surprised to get a chance to play in the NFL.

"I didn't do anything in college to merit being looked at by the pros or anything like that," Gado explained in his soft tone. "I am glad I am here, and I do feel that I can play at this level. Though I don't feel like I should be here, I think I can play and be successful."

Gado also took the time to thank his offensive line for creating enough running room for the Packers best individual rushing effort of the season.

"You don't run the ball 26 times successfully if you're line doesn't have anything to do with it," Gado explained. "They made it so much easier."

Still, the NFL is very new to Gado, who has lived in South Carolina since he was nine years old and he knew though that the Steelers would provide a difficult challenge.

"At first, watching the film, I was a little bit intimidated because the Steelers are tough and a blue collar type team," Gado said. "But once I got out there and took that first hit, I was like, 'I can do this.' These guys aren't giants, they're mortal. They have to tackle me too and that made it a whole lot easier. Once I got over that mystique, I was a lot more confident.

Gado acknowledged that his performance didn't mean as much as many people might think because his team lost and he's still got a lot of work to do to prove that he belongs.

"I really want to be careful because it was one game and if I can do this consistently I can put some stock in it," Gado explained. "But until I can prove myself again, I can't think too much of it."

But Gado does look forward to helping the Packers win more games and getting a chance to do the Lambeau Leap, which he declined to attempt after his one yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

"I fully intend to do it (Lambeau Leap) if there are more touchdowns to come," Gado said. "That is something I always wanted to do."

Based on his performance Sunday, Gado will indeed get that chance.

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