Josh Sitton lived the dream during eight seasons with Packers

Newest Packers Hall of Famer won with tenacity, toughness

Former Packers guard Josh Sitton

GREEN BAY – Josh Sitton was a dreamer but also a realist.

After being drafted in the fourth round by the Packers in 2008, the former University of Central Florida offensive lineman was excited at the prospects of turning his childhood passion into a professional career.

Yet, Sitton also knew that was still far from a guarantee.

"I can't tell you how many times I told my wife – girlfriend at the time – this probably isn't gonna happen," Sitton said. "Statistics say I'm gonna go and pretty quickly that this won't be my job for long."

That perspective shifted after the third practice of training camp during Sitton's rookie season. During one-on-one drills, the 6-foot-3, 318-pound guard was pitted against veteran defensive linemen Ryan Pickett, Cullen Jenkins, and Johnny Jolly and won each rep.

Looking on nearby, future Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst, an area scout at the time, smiled at what he'd just seen and remarked to then-offensive line coach James Campen, "We're good."

After the drill, Sitton concurred.

"I thought, 'I think I'm gonna be around for a while,'" Sitton said. "That day was the first day that I was truly confident … if I was blessed enough without injuries, that I was gonna play for 10 years."

It was the beginning of a decorated eight-year run for Sitton in Green Bay, in which he started 112 of his 121 regular-season appearances between left and right guard. He captured a Super Bowl ring in 2010, while also making three consecutive All-Pro teams from 2013-15.

A portrait of durability and consistency, Sitton credits Campen for taking him from "a good player to a great player" after making a few tweaks to his pass-blocking early in Sitton's career.

Beyond just football, however, Campen also taught Sitton and his teammates to wear their hearts on a sleeve and live life with passion. Pausing to hold back emotion, Sitton recalled how Campen would always tell his players how he loved them and encouraged his offensive linemen to feel their emotions.

That was an important lesson for a group of young men in a sport closely associated with toughness and stoicism. Campen, who now serves as Carolina's offensive line coach, viewed Sitton with similar respect.

Once Sitton reached the peak of his All-Pro powers, Campen used his star pupil to help younger offensive linemen who might be having technique issues or simply going through a difficult time. Sitton carried that same leadership flag with him on the practice field, as well.

"His practice habits were strong. He worked his craft all the time," Campen said. "So, when he got to that level, it wasn't just good enough to get there once. He wanted to get it again and again and again. He certainly proved that with three in a row. I just think when you have a player like that, it just resonates with the whole group."

In discussing the uniqueness of the offensive line, Sitton mentions how you'll never see kids at the local park working on pass sets or run-blocking setups. They're always throwing or catching the football, wanting to be the next Joe Montana or Jerry Rice.

To Sitton, however, offensive-line play is poetry. It's a beautiful artform that requires strength, coordination, and synergy among all five offensive linemen. With that, Sitton never wanted to let any of his teammates down, whether it was his in-game performance or all the things he overcame to get his body to Sunday.

Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy often talked to the team about how a player's best ability is availability and Sitton took that to heart. Even at 80%, he wanted his teammates to know "I was gonna be out there trying to kick ass and win games."

And he did. Sitton looks back on the totality of his career fondly. Now a husband and a father, the Florida kid who wasn't sure if he belonged in the NFL now will now have his career forever entombed in the Packers Hall of Fame.

"When these things come up like this, you start thinking about all the players who touched your life and all the people who impact your life," Sitton said. "When you're a 21-year-old, cocky idiot, you don't really think about that as much, (but) you become a man and you have children, and you grow.

"It's absolutely incredible the amount of people who have had a part in my success as a football player and as a person."

The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. inducted former Packers WR Jordy Nelson and G Josh Sitton at the 52nd Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Aug. 31, 2023, in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

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