Redding Relishes Joining Packers

(Concluding the profiles of some of the new members of the team's coaching staff, today's feature is on strength and conditioning coordinator Dave Redding.)

After a second multi-year hiatus from an NFL coaching career in strength and conditioning that spanned 23 seasons, Dave Redding wasn't necessarily angling to get back into the game again.

But the opportunity to join the Green Bay Packers was too appealing to pass up.

Raised in Nebraska, Redding was a fan of two teams as a kid – the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Green Bay Packers. He fulfilled a lifelong dream by playing for the Cornhuskers in college, and at age 56 he's realizing another one by joining the Packers as their new strength and conditioning coordinator.

"If Nebraska lost on Saturday and Green Bay lost on Sunday, I was in therapy Monday morning," Redding said of his childhood. "I couldn't go to school. I was just a kid who was obsessed with those two teams. Now if they both won, I got A's all week long, I was the leader, I was doing everything.

"I was out in the alley running wind sprints with my Nebraska jersey on and my Green Bay helmet, and my mom and dad are trying to get me to (come in for) dinner."

Redding's NFL coaching career covered three different decades and four teams before now. Hired as the Cleveland Browns' first strength and conditioning coach back in 1982, he stuck around when Marty Schottenheimer took over the Browns in '84 and then went everywhere Schottenheimer did – to the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers – through 2006.

There was one three-year absence from the league, from 1998-2000, and then another for the past two years following the '06 season, during which times Redding worked as the sports director for a nutrition company and as an independent nutritional and fitness consultant.

There was no gauging how strong his chances were of getting back into the league, but when he heard his colleague and friend, Rock Gullickson, had been dismissed after three seasons as strength and conditioning coordinator in Green Bay, he reached out to an old friend.

That was Russ Ball, the Packers' vice president of football administration and player finance. When Redding was the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Missouri back in 1981, the first assistant coach he ever hired was Ball, who also assisted Redding during his time with the Chiefs. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy was Kansas City's quarterbacks coach for part of that time as well.

"I called Russ and said, 'Throw my hat in the ring, and we'll see what happens,'" Redding said.

With his background and extensive experience, Redding had much more to go on than just his connections to land the Green Bay job. He's a member of the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame, and his interest in the field dates back to its infancy.

As a defensive end at Nebraska for legendary coach Tom Osborne in the early 1970s, Redding took an interest in strength and conditioning from the school's first coach in the field, Boyd Epley, who would eventually found the National Strength and Conditioning Association later that decade.

Redding said as a player he volunteered for a study Epley was doing to measure the effects of strength and conditioning training on football players over the course of the entire calendar year.

Redding described how tests were conducted before, during and after a player's offseason training program. Then after summer vacation, players were tested again before the football season started, during the season, and after it was over.

What the study found is that players who did not continue weight-room workouts during the football season lost half to three-quarters of the strength gains they had made during the offseason training program.

{sportsad300}To this day, that's the challenge all football strength and conditioning coaches face -- finding ways to help players maintain their offseason gains throughout the grueling season, and try to limit the inevitable strength losses to roughly around 10 to 20 percent.

"You take a picture of football player at the end of the offseason program, and then not lift him one time, and then take another picture of his body dressed down in pair of shorts at the end of the football season, it's like taking the air out of a balloon," Redding said. "They deflate. They lose sometimes 60 to 80 percent of that strength, they lose speed, and they lose conditioning because they're beat up. It's an abusive sport. Modern day gladiators. I have to get them ready for that."

While Redding admitted his program might not be that much different from Gullickson's, he did say he has a knack for finding what best motivates certain players and push those buttons. Often, that can mean getting the players to focus on the bigger picture, and their careers as a whole, when it comes to their workouts, not just next Sunday's game.

"My goal is their goal," Redding said. "I want to help each individual prolong his career and be durable and be healthy and maybe play two or three more years than he thinks he can by being in shape year-round.

"It's about body preservation, weight training helps that. I'm not here to teach them to be better weightlifters. That's not what I do. We're here to weight train to be better football players, to be in better shape to play the game. That's what we do."

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