*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.
It's time to get to know... Ben Steele.*
Tight end Ben Steele has taken a bit of a unconventional path to his current place on the Packers' roster. When Steele joined the Green and Gold just before the start of the regular season last September, the Packers became his fourth NFL team in four seasons after graduating from Mesa State College in his home state of Colorado.
Steele spent time with the San Francisco 49ers in 2001 and 2002, and was a member of the practice squad of the Oakland Raiders during the 2002 season. He was in training camp with the Minnesota Vikings in both 2003 and '04 before being claimed on waivers by Green Bay, where he has been since.
His football odyssey has also taken him across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, playing a season with the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe in 2002 and later in a preseason game in Osaka, Japan with the 49ers that summer.
Steele became known to most Packers fans for one play in the 2004 season. Late in the first meeting between the Packers and Vikings, Steele pounced on a fumble during a kickoff return and the resulting possession saw Ryan Longwell kick the game-winning field goal in the 34-31 win.
Steele played in 15 games for the Pack in '04 and took over the number-two spot on the tight end depth chart following David Martin's season-ending injury. Steele completed the campaign with four receptions and also was second on the team with 17 tackles on special teams.
He recently sat down with Packers.com to give the fans a little background on this special teams specialist.
Packers.com: What do you remember about your first NFL game?
Ben Steele: "My memories are from my first preseason game. Coming from a school where the stadium holds 5,000 people to a stadium with 50,000 people in it (Steele's first NFL preseason game was with the San Francisco 49ers in San Diego in 2001) was a big jolt for me."
What is your best on-field memory from your football career?
"My favorite memory from my career so far is remembering my first regular season NFL game. Playing on Lambeau Field in Green Bay in front of the fans here was an awesome experience."
Besides the physicality of the game, what is the most difficult part of playing in the NFL?
"I've learned that the most difficult part is actually staying in the NFL."
What is your favorite visiting stadium to play in?
"I liked playing in Minnesota, just because of the competition between the Packers and Vikings, plus they're my old team and I love getting after it with those guys."
What's the difference playing in Green Bay and other cities?
"Green Bay, bar none, has the best fan support. The fan support, the community support, is better than any other place that I've been. The community here is like a family."
What are your off-season hobbies?
"I'm into snowboarding. I also try to get to the beach and do some surfing if I can."
What's your favorite snowboarding spot?
"At home in Colorado is my favorite place. I like to go to the isolated places that aren't too crowded."
Where are some of your favorite places you've traveled to?
"I've been to Turkey - that was pretty awesome. Japan is cool, too. I lived in Sweden for a while, and I liked it a lot there."
If you were not playing football, what would you be doing?
"I think I'd be coaching or teaching."
Did you have any interesting jobs growing up?
"There were a lot of peach orchards where I grew up, so we would do a lot of peach packing and then eat peaches all summer long."
Who is your favorite athlete to watch in any sport?
"I'd have to say Michael Jordan."
What was your favorite sports team growing up?
"Growing up in Colorado, my favorite team was the Broncos. I'm also a fan of the Chicago Cubs in baseball and the Colorado Avalanche in hockey."
What is your favorite food?
"I don't think there's a food on the face on the Earth that I've tried and won't eat. I like everything."
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
"I'm a big fan of Pasquale's in DePere."
Do you cook?
"I can cook a fine omelet - that's probably my best dish."
What are some of your favorite movies of all time?
""Braveheart" has got to be up there. The "Rocky" series is great. I also like anything with Chris Farley or Adam Sandler."
Do you have a favorite from the last year?
"I thought "Napoleon Dynamite" was a good one."
Do you have a favorite book?
"The Bible; and I've also been reading a lot of financial books. I just finished a book called "The Four Agreements" which was really good."
What's in your CD player right now?
"I've got Jack Johnson's new one in there. Also Sum 41, Good Charlotte, and I've got Reliant K in there too."
What do you listen to before games?
"I like to listen to all sorts of music before games. Punk music gets me fired up so I listen to that before games and maybe some rap too. Mainly something fast that gets me excited."
Are you a golfer?
"I swing at stuff."
Who would be in your ultimate golf foursome?
"Michael Jordan, Adam Sandler, and Alice Cooper - he's a good golfer."