*How well do we know the men who make up the Packers roster? Even the most ardent fan - the one who studies every play, knows the 40-yard-dash time of every prospect, is at every practice during training camp - still most likely is familiar primarily with what the players of the Green and Gold are up to on the field.
Packers.com is taking a look at some of the off-the-field interests of the players behind the facemasks that you cheer so heartily for during the football season. This is a chance to get to know the players through a series of questions and answers, some football-related and others having nothing to do with the gridiron.
Let's get to know... Andrae Thurman.*
Promoted to the active roster last December following a season-ending injury to wide receiver Robert Ferguson, Andrae Thurman made his professional debut at Minnesota in the decisive battle for the NFC North title.
In that game, Thurman made two receptions for 12 yards, including a nine-yard catch -- his first in the NFL. He went on to return three kickoffs for 59 yards in the Packers' regular-season finale at Chicago (Jan. 2), including a 28-yarder to open the second half. Thurman also saw action as both a receiver and return man in the NFC Wild Card playoff game against Minnesota (Jan. 9), bringing back one kickoff for 17 yards.
Undrafted in 2004 out of Southern Oregon, Thurman has now spent time with three NFL teams, originally signing with the N.Y. Giants before being claimed off waivers by Houston. He spent training camp with the Texans until he was released in August. The Packers snagged the wide receiver/kick returning prospect and signed him to their practice squad, where he has shown flashes of unlimited potential.
Packers.com caught up with Thurman during some down time in his offseason workouts to let you Packer fans get some more background on #81.
Packers.com: Finish this phrase. If not for football, I would be...:
Andrae Thurman: "Acting. With my personality I can do various impressions of people. I can do impressions of Corey Williams and I do a good Eddie Murphy from The Nutty Professor."
What is your favorite movie?
"I like Shawshank Redemption. That was a good movie. I like the movie The Program. That's one of my favorite movies of all time."
What was your nickname growing up?
"'Dre. That's been my nickname pretty much since I was about 4 or 5 years old and it's kind of stuck with me."
Who was the greatest influence on your life?
"My mom and my dad. Both of them, equally, were the greatest influences in my life. Coming from a divorced family, with my mom in Texas and my Dad in Arizona, I think sharing time with both of them was very important to me and I think they were both equally great influences in my life."
How did it feel to play your first game as a professional football player?
"It was at Minnesota. It was a big game. We were both 8-6 and playing for the NFC North division title. It was a huge game with a lot of pressure, but I didn't really feel the pressure. I think the guys helped me during the week with that."
How did it feel walking into Lambeau Field for the first time?
"The first time I did it when I was in pads, I paused for about five or ten minutes. I was just struck with all the fans. The fans here are the best fans. I've been on three football teams and the fans here are the best in the NFL. I just had to pause coming out of the tunnel to take it all in."
Name one celebrity, past or present, you would like to meet.
If you could play any other position on the field, what would it be?
"Quarterback. I played quarterback a little bit in high school and I feel like I've got the fundamentals down and I can read some of the coverages."
Where is your most hated place to play football?
"Minnesota. We have such a great rivalry with them and having played in the game against them last year, I kind of know what that rivalry means."
What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
"The Amityville Horror. It was a scary movie too, wild."
Where do you like to travel the most?
"I like going to Vegas. I've been there a few times. And definitely Texas. I have a lot of family there."
Tell us about your first...
Pet: "My dog, Floyd. He was a Doberman Pinscher. We got him when I was 10 and he passed when I was about 17 so we had him for about seven years. He was an awesome dog."
Job: "Telemarketing. I did that with a local company in Arizona when I was 17 years old. I would just have to cold-call people trying to sell some products."
Car: "1981 Toyota Celica GT."
Big kid toy: "1991 four-door Cadillac. I also have a 1976 El Dorado. I'm a big Cadillac fan."
Adult decision: "I think choosing the college that I wanted to go to. I think that was a big factor in me growing up as a man and me moving away from home. At 18 years old, that's one of the first big decisions you make. I chose to go to the Uniuversity of Arizona because of the family organization that they had there, they were a top 5 team when I was there and it was close to both my mom and dad. I later decided to transfer to Southern Oregon."