GREEN BAY – Carrying luggage, backpacks and even a few video-game controllers, Packers players began filing into the dorms at St. Norbert College on Tuesday afternoon.
The training-camp partnership, the longest in NFL history at 61 years, has the Packers’ 90-man roster spending the early nights of training camp on the campus of the private college in De Pere, Wis., a 10-minute commute from Lambeau Field.
For decades, the close quarters have promoted focus and bonding among the team’s incoming rookies, offseason additions and returning veterans like left guard Lane Taylor.
“With being at work so long we get time to learn what the rookies are all about, the personalities they have,” Taylor said. “It’s always a fun time, it’s kind of that time of the year where you develop that relationship with them.”
The move into the dorms is a minor transition for running back Ty Montgomery, who became a father last month. As much as he misses his young family, the fourth-year veteran appreciates the chance to catch up with his teammates and get zoned in for the upcoming season.
Dating back to his college days at Stanford, Montgomery has enjoyed everything training camp represents – an opportunity to get better every day in the lead-up to the regular season.
While it feels like only yesterday when he was a rookie third-round draft pick, Montgomery relishes being the established guy young players on the roster now turn to for advice.
“A lot of guys get nervous and they worry about mistakes, and I’ve always said ‘make mistakes at full speed,’” said Montgomery, who is roommates with backup quarterback Brett Hundley.
“‘If you run the wrong way, run the wrong way full speed because sometimes you’ll still make a play. The effort’s always got to be here. Mentally you’ll start to learn what to do. Just anytime you make a mistake, make it full speed.’”
Training camp is mainly all business, but there are occasional openings for some light-hearted fun. Montgomery, a fan of the popular game “Fortnite,” said it’s a possibility some video-game tournaments break out at some point in the dorms.
Taylor, entering his sixth NFL training camp, mentioned he’s “good to go” for the start of training camp after sitting out of the offseason program with an ankle injury.
He also jokingly acknowledged he hasn’t gained the necessary tenure to have a dorm room to himself. Whatever the case, Taylor is excited to get back to work and reunite with his football family.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Taylor said. “It’s good for me and guys who have families to spend quality time with them that you don’t get during the year. But it’s good to get started. This is what we do for a living, so it’s good to get back and get rolling.”
The Packers moved into dorms at St. Norbert College, in preparation for training camp.