He'd been through mini-camps and offseason opportunity sessions. He'd lasted through two weeks of training camp practices.
And last Monday, Green Bay Packers rookie fullback Tommy Collins thought he finally was going to get a taste of an NFL game, if only an exhibition.
Unfortunately, Collins was one of a handful of players who never made it into the Packers' opening preseason game before lightning and rain forced the teams off the field, leading to the game's ultimate cancellation.
In his previous Training Camp Diary, Collins discussed his anticipation for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. In this edition, Collins describes what it felt like to be all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Tommy Collins: My first NFL game didn't go exactly as I thought it would. And it was that way for a lot of the guys.
From the moment we got out on the field, I was fired up and ready to go. I think the coaches definitely saw that in my eyes.
It was going to be such a nice way to make a debut, at the Hall of Fame, where there's so much history, and I went out there, got ready to roll, and about the time I was ready to go in the game, the lightning started hitting.
I was kind of frustrated, because a lot of us young guys were going in the game. But when we came into the locker room we were still optimistic. I thought we were going to go off the field for a little bit and then come back on. But there was just so much water on the field, there was really no chance.
The vets were wary and thinking it wasn't safe to go out there, but the rookies were like, hey, let's go! Let's do it! We wanted to get on the field. But there's a lot of football yet to play and it's better to be safe than sorry.
When Coach Sherman told us that we weren't going to go back out there, I just started looking toward the next game and Atlanta.
Sometimes things happen that way. It's unfortunate, but it's unfortunate for a lot of guys. The fortunate part is that we have five preseason games on the schedule, which means there are four games left for me and the rest of the rookies to get our shot.
Really, it wouldn't have been very beneficial to go back out there anyway. Part of football is playing in any conditions, but the field was so slick that even after the lightning stopped there was danger of getting someone hurt.
I don't think people realize how slick that artificial turf gets when it's wet like that. It's like ice. So they made the right decision and we lived with it.
Now it's just back to the camp routine, working toward the Atlanta game.
In football they say that you should leave the last play behind and move on to the next play. It's kind of like that with days at training camp, too.
Yesterday was yesterday. You leave it there, you move on.
You wake up in the morning and everything operates on a schedule. That can be comforting, because you know what's ahead, but you can get caught up in that, too. If you lose track of where you're at, all of a sudden days have gone by and you haven't really accomplished anything.
I think the right thing to do is forget what's behind you, move on and play. One play at a time. One day at a time.
On an average training camp day I get up around 6:30 a.m. and go and have breakfast. After that, I come to Lambeau Field, get taped and dressed for practice.
From the moment I wake up, I start getting focused in. You've got to have your mind right for practice, because by 8:45 a.m. we're out on the practice field hitting. You've got to be ready to roll.
After practices and weights and meetings, the day finally ends. From 6:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night, you're busy with football. Your mind is on that and nothing else.
These days I'm trying to get in bed at 10:30 or 11 p.m. Falling asleep can be a different story though.
In camp, some days are better than others.