*Adam Stenavich, a native of Marshfield, Wis., has started all four games at left guard for the Amsterdam Admirals, and his team enters this weekend 2-2. Originally signed as a nondrafted free agent by the Carolina Panthers on May 5, 2006, Stenavich came to the Packers last November as a member of the team's practice squad.
Amsterdam travels to Hamburg Saturday for its Week 5 contest. The game can be seen on NFL Network at midnight CT (tape delay).
Packers.com will post periodic diary entries from Stenavich about his experiences in Europe with his "springtime" team. Here is his first entry, in which Stenavich talks about his first few months in NFL Europa.*
At the end of the Packers season, I found out that I was probably going to play in NFL Europa. Then I got a call in mid-February from the team telling me I definitely was going. At first, I didn't really want to go, but the more I thought about, the more I knew it would be a great opportunity.
We went down to Tampa, where training camp is held, at the beginning of March, and had two-a-days for three weeks. There were probably about 60 guys - some free agents and others who are on NFL teams - all competing for spots. I was surprised by the level of competition; there are a lot of good players in NFLE. During camp, some players are allocated to teams. Then there is a draft held for players who weren't allocated, and I was fortunate to be picked by Amsterdam in the first round.
At the beginning of April, we flew over to Europe. From Miami to Frankfurt, Germany, took nine hours. Then it was another hour from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. The flight was not as comfortable as I would've liked. Five of us were all in one row in coach, and three were offensive linemen - I tried to get up and walk around as much as I could.
Utrecht is the city we live in, which is about a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam. It's a great place to stay, because it is very much like a college town populated by a lot of young people. A lot of the people here recognize us as Admirals players and everyone speaks English, which is nice. There are good restaurants here and the food we get in the hotel is very good. You can really get whatever you want; there's a Burger King right down the street in the train station and there are a few falafel stands I get to from time to time.
Our basic schedule is to wake up at 7:30 a.m. and start meetings at 8:15, which last until around 10 o'clock. Then we go to practice, get done around 1 o'clock, and then meet at 4 o'clock. It differs from the NFL in the sense that the schedule is more relaxed. It's a full day, but you have more breaks in-between. As for practices, we have a lot more walk-throughs, because we don't have as many players as an NFL roster would.
Our Head Coach is Bart Andrus. He's an excellent coach, who does a good job at keeping us motivated. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Tennessee Titans when they went to the Super Bowl in '99. My position coach is offensive coordinator Ron Heller. He's a really funny guy who played tackle in the league for 12 years. He's a great teacher and keeps things loose.
Right now, we are 2-2. Our first couple games, we cost ourselves the games by making a lot of mistakes and penalties. Our defense has been playing well the whole season, but finally in our third game of the season against Berlin, the offense finally starting making plays. We've won the last two, including last week vs. Frankfurt. It was nice to play them again - we opened with them and we felt that beat ourselves in that first game, so we were glad to have that chance. We play Hamburg this week, so hopefully we can keep our win-streak alive.
I've spent a lot of time with the other guys on the O-line. I played at Michigan with our left tackle, Tony Pape, so it's really cool playing with him again. We all go out together, eat together, so it's been great on the field and off of it.
I want to say 'hello' to my family and friends in Marshfield. Thank you for watching the games and for all of your support.
*In Week 5, Amsterdam plays at Hamburg and Frankfurt is at Rhein on Saturday. Cologne travels to Berlin for a rematch on Sunday.
All three games will be televised on NFL Network. The Frankfurt/Rhein game will be shown live at noon (CT) Saturday, while the Amsterdam/Hamburg game will be tape-delayed at midnight (CT) Saturday, and the Cologne/Berlin game is at midnight (CT) Sunday.*