GREEN BAY – In describing Green Bay's second-round draft pick, Josh Myers, Packers director of college scouting Matt Malaspina used the word "tough" several times.
Well, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Myers suffered a nasty turf toe injury on one of the final plays of Ohio State's victory in the Big Ten championship game, but it wasn't going to keep him out of the College Football Playoff.
Even when he made the injury much worse in the semifinal vs. Clemson, he wouldn't shut it down, and he battled through the title game against Alabama, too.
"It was extremely painful to play through it," Myers said in a conference call with Green Bay media shortly after the Packers chose him with the No. 62 overall pick Friday night.
"As an offensive lineman, pushing through that toe, you do it so often. Playing through those games hurt really, really badly."
The decision led to an offseason surgery and probably damaged the draft stock of a player who might have been chosen higher had he decided to protect himself. But that's not who Myers is.
"I just felt like I owed it to myself, my teammates and our coaches, everyone at Ohio State, to kind of gut it up and play through it, give ourselves a shot at the national championship," he said.
"To be honest, I knew there was a chance it could hurt me going into the NFL Draft but … I felt like I needed to do it whether it hurt me or not, because it's what was best for the team, and I definitely plan on bringing that same team-first mentality to Green Bay."
It's the type of fit the Packers look for, along with the experience he brings as a two-year starter at center for a big-time program like Ohio State's. He possesses the ability to play either guard position, too, according to Malaspina.
"He's extremely tough," Malaspina said. "It's important for him to be a great player. These guys are wired right. They love ball and they love practice, and they do the little things right.
"It's very important for him to be viewed along the lines of those great Ohio State centers."
Seven years ago, the Packers drafted one of those Buckeye centers in the fifth round, Corey Linsley, who held down the position through this past season when he was named first-team All-Pro.
Linsley left as a free agent for the Chargers, so it's natural to think Myers immediately will compete to take over the open starting job.
"It would mean everything to me," said Myers of taking over for Linsley, an Ohio State alum he knows and has spoken to as recently as this month. "He's such a great player and to follow him up is a big task that I'm excited to get a shot at."
If that weren't enough in the serendipity and timing departments, Myers was actually in Green Bay this past winter, across the street from Lambeau Field at the Bellin sports medicine facility to see the country's foremost foot/ankle expert, Dr. Robert Anderson, about his toe injury.
"We talked about how incredible it would be if I ever got the chance to play there, and here we are," Myers said.
Myers comes from a family of athletes and a long line of centers. First off, he says the best athlete in the family is his mother, a University of Dayton Hall of Famer as a basketball player.
On the gridiron, his grandfather played center in high school before his dad and brother both played center at the University of Kentucky, even though both didn't start out at that position.
Josh didn't either, but he made the move after his redshirt freshman year at Ohio State at the behest of the coaches and he took to the spot – the physical nature and the leadership required.
He eventually became a team captain this past season for the Buckeyes, which he considered his greatest athletic achievement – until perhaps Friday night, when he saw Green Bay pop up on his phone screen.
He called it "the biggest rush of emotion," and the enthusiasm is reciprocated by Malaspina, who went to see Myers play two games in person this past season, even amidst all the pandemic restrictions.
"What stood out for me was just his way – his sturdiness, his demeanor, his positive energy," Malaspina said. "I mean, you're not team captain at a place like that and go hide in the corner.
"I'm not saying you have to be a rah-rah guy, but he's a guy that other guys gravitate towards, which once again talking about the energy is something that we want to continue to bring into this team."
It just so happens the starting center spot is open, too.
"He'll have to earn it like everybody else," Malaspina said. "Nothing's given in this league."
Take a look at Packers C/G Josh Myers during his college career.