DE PERE – On the eve of his fourth NFL training camp, Blake Martinez had a special visitor accompany him to the Packers’ move-in day at St. Norbert College on Tuesday afternoon.
His 1-year-old daughter, Kinsley.
“I was trying to find babysitters,” said Martinez, laughing. “My wife is at an orientation right now for her new coaching job … so I have baby duty.”
Luckily, the scheduling conflict provided the Packers linebacker with one more opportunity to squeeze in a little father-daughter time before Green Bay begins training camp this week.
The fourth-year linebacker and several of his teammates spent Tuesday afternoon getting settled into the dorms at St. Norbert, which has housed the Packers during camp for the past 62 years.
While having to trade-in the traditional comforts of home for the close college quarters, Martinez appreciates how the tradition promotes team-bonding and renewed focus on the task at hand.
Packers players moved into the dorms at St. Norbert College on July 23, 2019 to prepare for training camp.
“I think this year is probably the most excited I’ve been to go into the dorms,” Martinez said. “The culture and stuff with the defense has been awesome throughout OTAs. Everybody wants to hang out and do things, get to know each other and grow that bond. It’s been awesome. Just growing together as a team and get ready to dominate the season.”
Free-agent acquisition Adrian Amos is new to the team but familiar with dorm life from his four seasons as a member of the Chicago Bears, who stay on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais each summer.
The start of camp means long days and meetings, but the fifth-year safety also is excited to continue to learn coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense and spend more time with his new teammates.
Amos said he had a pretty mellow summer, with his highlight being a cookout held in Baltimore that brought his family together from several states. The rest of his break was concentrated solely on his craft.
“Just trying to get in the best shape possible. More running and lifting and stuff like that,” Amos said. “Once the season starts, you have football 24/7. Just getting a lot of stuff you’re not going to be able to do during these next seven months.”
Another player who put time in the weight room this summer is fourth-year receiver Geronimo Allison, who appears poised for a big role in the offense following the departure of veteran Randall Cobb.
The Packers’ 10-week offseason program made a positive impression on Allison, who likes the big-play potential of Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. He believes the overall design allows players to generate explosive plays at any given time.
As much as scheme can translate to a team’s success, so too does chemistry and that’s where the dorms come in. Allison said he didn’t know who his roommate was yet, but is hopeful for someone who keeps a tidy space.
“It brings us all together. It gets everybody together,” Allison said. “It’s only for a short period of time. We make it count. You’re in or you’re out. You deal with it while you have to, but it’s a tradition around here. It’s something that’s always going to stick and always be around. Some of the greats have been through it. We are fortunate enough to go through it.”
While “FIFA” and “NBA 2K” tournaments have been known to occasionally breakout at the dorms, most of the players’ time will be spent at Lambeau Field in the coming weeks.
Martinez admitted Tuesday will probably be Kinsley’s lone visit to St. Norbert’s campus, but he plans to make a few trips home before curfew whenever opportunity presents itself.
“I know, for me, I’ll try to find as much time as I can to get back,” Martinez said. “It’s definitely going to be tough and be crazy to see her two weeks from now and be like what the heck happened. She’s obviously the best thing ever.”