*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... Kenny Peterson.*
Utilized all along the defensive line, Kenny Peterson in 2004 primarily served as the backup to Cletidus Hunt at the 'Eagle' defensive tackle position, playing in nine regular-season games, while also seeing reserve action in the NFC Wild Card playoff game with Minnesota.
One of the strongest players in Ohio State's history, Peterson set several weight room records at his alma mater and hopes to win a Super Bowl with the Packers to finish a championship trifecta. He already has won the prep national championship at Canton (Ohio) McKinley High School (1997) and an NCAA national title with the Buckeyes (2002).
In 2004, Peterson began the 'Pay it Forward Program,' a mentorship program inspired by the 2000 movie with the same name, at Monroe (Ohio) Middle School. The program helps seventh- and eighth-graders become leaders in the community.
Packers.com recently caught up with Peterson during some down time in his offseason workouts to let you Packer fans get some more background on #98.
Packers.com: Finish this phrase. If not for football, I would be...:
Kenny Peterson: Most likely, I would be working for the mortgage company that I worked for back in Columbus, Ohio.
Tell us about your first...
Pet: I had a gerbil when I was in 2nd grade. One morning I woke and he looked like he had a knot on his stomach and he was being kind of still. I put him in a shoe box and put him by the heater...I thought maybe he was just cold. When I came back from school to check on him, he was stiff as a board. I think I might have fried him.
First job: McDonald's, flipping burgers.
1988 Dodge Shadow. Brown. I went to Auto Zone and got the little furry car seats and the funny steering wheel cover. It had one speaker in the back window that worked.
Girlfriend: Tiffany. We were together right as I was going into high school and she taught me a lot about relationships. She taught me a lot about myself. It seems like girls mature a lot faster than guys.
Toy: My mom bought me the whole set of Voltron. That was one of my favorite toys growing up.
Big purchase: My car. A 2003 Cadillac Escalade.
Choosing not to drink or smoke while I was in college. I never understood the purpose for it. I'm a people watcher and I see the decisions they make and then I think about how their decisions would have affected my life if I would have done the same thing. I still to this day have not ever smoked or drank alcohol.
What was your nickname growing up?
I had a couple. "Egghead" was one of them. Everyone in my family called me that. When I was younger I had an afro and they all called me "Syrup." That's how thick my hair was, but most of the time they just called me "Egg."
How do you feel when you walk through "the hall of champions" everyday on the way to the locker room?
Everday I walk through that hall and look at those guys and just pray to God that he puts me there one day. That's one of my main goals, to be a Hall of Famer, to be remembered and to have my legacy live on. That's what I would like to be known as, a champion.
If you could play any other position on the football field, what would it be?
Probably either linebacker or tight end. There's just something about coming off the line and catching the ball. Everyone watches the guy who catches the ball, so it's a toss up between linebacker and tight end.
Who has been the greatest influence on your life?
My parents. We grew up not having much money but we always seemed to make it work. My mom taught me a lot about being independent because she's a single mom raising four kids. She could have easily tucked her tail and ran home to my grandma. But she didn't, and we stood our ground. Although we had a lot of adversity, she made sure that we didn't go without and we always had things.
My dad taught me a lot about being a man and just to think before I act. That's why I think I'm so analytical now, because I sit and I think things through and try to make wise decisions.
Another role model in my life is my little cousin, Leon. He had a kidney transplant and to see him go through what he went through and to see him still wanting to play basketball, knowing that with his disability he could have given up at any time, was always very inspiring to me. He wanted to keep playing and the love that he had for the game really made me want to dedicate myself to what I do. We take it for granted the fact that we play sports and do the things that we do. I never really told him, but I definitely look up to him, definitely.
If you could travel in time, which time period would you go back to?
I would probably say the '50s. That's probably the time when racism was at its worst and I would want to try to teach people that racism is ignorance. I think the definition of racism is the fear of not knowing and not understanding and I don't believe in racism at all. We still fight that today and I would like to be able to do something about it.
In my mind, people are like trees. If you go out into a forest, you're not going to find two trees that are exactly alike. You may find the same types of trees or the same species, but they all have different traits, qualities and characteristics. We're God's rainbow. He made people different colors because we all look good together.
Having already won national championships at both the high school and collegiate levels, what would it mean to you to complete the championship trifecta with a Super Bowl victory?
I think that I would be the first one to ever do it. Another person in contention for it is Michael Doss (Indianapolis Colts), who I went to high school with. Each year both of our teams are in the playoffs and we always bet to see who can get it first. That would be a great addition to my legacy to know that I was one of, if not the first, person to win a championship at all three levels.
Who is your favorite athlete to watch?
My buddy, Keith McCloud, who plays for the Utah Jazz. We grew up together and to see him out there in the big leagues now is great. As for football, I would probably say Junior Seau. He's just a go-getter. He's just one of those guys that just never, ever stops. And also Brett Favre. Just to see the amount of love that he has for the game.
What is your favorite food?
My mom's lasagna, hands down. I actually might call her as soon as we're done and have her send me some. It's the best thing in the world.
Do you cook, and if so what's your specialty?
I do. Now do you want to ask me that when I'm dieting or when I'm not dieting? I'd probably say that the thing I like to cook the most is salmon. It seems like I eat it almost everyday.
What are your offseason hobbies?
I love computers. I actually just built another one. I have two at my house that I don't even use but I just like to build them. I usually end up giving a couple of them away. Another thing I like to do is play the piano. I love to just go home and practice on my keyboard.
Have you ever had a practical joke played on you?
Yes I have. The one that still plagues me to this day is when someone put those little white dots, the ones that you get when you punch holes in paper, into my air conditioning vents in my truck. I still get white dots blowing around whenever I clean my car or when I turn the heat or air on. We could go out there right now and I bet it would happen.
Do you know who did it?
No I don't. But I'm still searching. If you hear anything, let me know.
Who would you most like to play a practical joke on?
Probably one of the O-linemen. They're always playing jokes on people. I would probably say either Ruegamer, Flanagan or Tauscher. One of those three.
What do you think is your best asset as a football player?
My quickness and my strength. God has blessed me in those areas, especially in the weight room.
Besides your own, what is the most difficult position to play on the field?
I would say cornerback. You're just out there on an island by yourself. It's probably a lot tougher than on the line because as a defensive lineman, you're initiating contact within the first few seconds of the play. But at corner you have to wait and see what develops and you have to have a lot of patience.
Which one of your fellow defensive linemen could you see one day becoming a coach?
Aaron Kampman. He's like a coach on the field. There have been many times on the field or in practice when I didn't understand a certain play and he would explain it in a way that I could understand it, comprehend it and I could then turn around and explain it to someone else.
What advice would you give to young kids growing up?
It's kind of redundant, but just to stay in school and learn as much as you can.
Xbox or PlayStation?
PB&J or Grilled Cheese?
Grilled Cheese. I hate peanut butter.
If you could play golf with any other foursome, who would be the other three?
Ryan Longwell, Tiger Woods and the Golden Bear.