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Jeremy Unertl: NFL Europe Diary


*As NFL Europe approaches its fourth weekend, only the Frankfurt Galaxy remain undefeated.

In part, the Galaxy have defensive back Jeremy Unertl to thank. Allocated to NFLE by the Green Bay Packers, the former Wisconsin-La Crosse standout expected to play safety. Instead, injuries have forced him to cornerback, where he made two interceptions in Frankfurt's Week 3 win.

Closing in on a trip to Amsterdam to face the 1-2 Admirals, Unertl checked in with in the form of an NFL Europe Diary:*

Jeremy Unertl: We're three weeks into the NFL Europe season and things are starting to fall into a routine. We get started around 7:45 every morning and go until about 4:30 in the afternoon. Sometimes we watch film as a team at night, but otherwise we have the rest of the night to ourselves. For us, the focus here is football, and the more we get into a routine, the more it feels like being home.

The team has a good nucleus and is a cool group of guys. We jelled early in Tampa at training camp and you can see that in how we play, I think. Some guys have brought family over here, or have had their wives or girlfriends visit.

My girlfriend was here for three weeks and just left the other day. It was nice to have her here, because as much as you like being around the dudes, it gets old after a while and you need a break.

Before I got over here to Germany I was told that it's not good, it's not bad, it's just different. I think that's the mindset you have to have going into a new place like this. They do a lot of things differently here. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.

If there's been one problem for me and the guys it's been the food. For starters, water over here is scarce. In the U.S., if you go out to a restaurant they just give you a glass of water. Here the water is carbonated and you have to pay for it. (Also, beer is cheaper than soda here and you have to pay for ketchup.)

Tonight a bunch of people are going out to Burger King. I'm not a big fast food guy, but even the Burger King tastes a little different here. Guys are constantly trying to find places where they can find good American-style food.

That doesn't mean I haven't tried new things. This will sound strange, but the other day I happened to go to an Australian restaurant and tried crocodile and things like that. Frankfurt is a really diverse community, so there are always opportunities for new experiences like that.

The language barrier has been somewhat of a problem here. I'm still getting used to the fact that people speak German. I'll see someone who looks like me and might as well be from Wisconsin and I expect him to speak English. I'm always surprised when I hear another language come out of someone's mouth.

For the most part, younger people in the area know English pretty well, because a lot of them are required to take it in school. There are quite a few older people, however, who don't know much English at all, and that's when things get frustrating for both sides.

Personally, I always feel bad because I'm in their country and I can't speak the language - it's my fault. But that's part of being in a different culture. We're actually living here, so we have to find a way to adapt. And it's been pretty easy for the most part.

On the football field things are going pretty well. I came here looking to get some experience and to polish my skills and techniques at safety. Right now I'm playing a lot of corner. Because of injuries we only have seven defensive backs right now.

In a way, it's a good experience because I'm learning new things. But it's frustrating in a sense because to make it in the NFL you want to be really good at one position. I wanted to be able to come here and learn the techniques that separate the good players, who don't make it, from the great players, who have NFL careers.

But after a year out of football, it's refreshing to play the game again. Last year I went through mini-camps and training camp, and that's a positive experience but you never get into a real live game situation. And if you're a competitor, that's what you play for. As much as we love football, we don't love to practice. You practice to play.

The camaraderie of the team is good and it's cool being in that kind of an atmosphere again. Certainly everyone here has their own agenda and own thing to get back to when they leave, but right now we're a good unit. Playing football makes bonds you can't really develop anywhere else.

Last weekend I had two interceptions. I try not to get too up or too down over any part of the game, and I think I do a good job of that. But it felt good to get that first pick, especially because it came at corner, which is a position I never really played.

The other interception at the end of the game was one of those that just came to me. But they still count, and in this game you take what you can get.

Right now it just feels good to be playing and winning. This team doesn't know yet what it feels like to lose, and you never really know the true character of your team until you do.

But hopefully we won't have to experience that.

Unertl's Galaxy meets the Amsterdam Admirals this Saturday at noon CT. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Net. Unertl will continue his diary as the season progresses.

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