While many people hit the road during Thanksgiving, traveling to various destinations around the country to visit family, the Packers can do no such thing. With practices scheduled on Thursday and Friday, the players do not receive a day off, but they do congregate for various feasts.
Some share a festive meal with their families. Others dine with teammates. And several eat with both.
For the second straight year, Chad Clifton and his wife Candy will host 20 to 25 people, including Mark Tauscher, Ryan Longwell, B.J. Sander, Mike Flanagan, Grey Ruegamer, Aaron Kampman, Junius Coston, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and several of the players' wives and children. About 40 pounds of turkey are on hand. Clifton deep fries two turkeys while each attendant brings a dish. The Longwells supply the cornbread casserole and pecan pie.
"The wives have been e-mailing each other, and they've got it figured out," Kampman said. "We're going to have quite a smorgasbord."
Many of the running backs, including Samkon Gado, will head to Ahman Green's house. Green's mother and William Henderson's wife, Brigitta, will do most of the cooking.
"We're going to do it at the Bat Cave," Henderson said. "We're going to get together as a family and as an extended family -- my guys in the locker room."
Tony Fisher and Vonta Leach have become so close to Brigitta that they call her "Big Sis."
"I give her big kudos. She can do it all," Henderson said. "She's got a great gift, a great palate and she can season like nobody else."
Mark Roman and his wife Ashley will dine at Robert Ferguson's home. Roman, who will supply the collared greens and pumpkin pie, claims to be quite the cook.
"I'm from Louisiana," Roman said. "You've got to be."
Al Harris will eat with his fiancée and his five-month son. Al will cook this year, which means he must be a culinary master like Roman, right?
"No, I'm not," Harris laughed.
Harris will rely on some help. His father used to cook the Thanksgiving meals when Al grew up and has sent his stuffing recipe.
Rookie William Whitticker's mother and stepfather will travel up from Marion, Ind. Whitticker praised her dressing and sweet potato pie. They will join Chris White and his girlfriend for dinner.
Like Whitticker, Nick Barnett will receive some maternal help. Barnett's mother arrived in Green Bay from Fontana, Calif. two weeks ago and began cooking pies on Monday. Barnett's fiancée and her brother, sister and mother will also attend.
Rookie and Chico, Calif. native Aaron Rodgers will spend his first Thanksgiving without his parents. While in college at UC-Berkeley, his football season would end before Thanksgiving, and the bowl season would start after it.
During this holiday Rodgers will sit around his new dining room table with his 23-year-old brother Luke, who lives with Aaron, and a few friends.
"I am relaxing at my house," Rodgers said. "I'll miss just seeing the family. I'm real close with my grandma and grandpa."
The 21-year-old also will miss his aunt's jell-o salad, which includes jell-o, whipped cream and a pretzel/brown sugar crust.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "I eat probably half the thing."
Some of Clifton's favorite Thanksgiving memories include food as well. When pressed for specifics, he referred to an incident from last year's feast.
"Tauscher eating a whole turkey by himself," he said.
Clifton may have embellished Tauscher's consumption, but perhaps that's part of the tradition.
Changing Of The Guard?
Grey Ruegamer, who has served as backup center while Scott Wells started at left guard the last two weeks, took the majority of snaps at right guard instead of William Whitticker during Friday's practice. Ruegamer expressed comfort at that position.
"I'm fine with it," he said. "I just need to review everything."
The offensive line's utility man, Ruegamer has moved from left guard, to right guard, to center and now back to left guard since training camp began. He said his most recent move may not be permanent.
"It's by no means what's gonna happen or what's gonna stay," he said. "It's just one practice."
Welcome Back Chad
The Packers re-signed wide receiver Chad Lucas to the practice squad.