26

October

Eddie Lacy starts fast, stays cool

Eddie Lacy has been a shot of life to the Packers' ground game, but he's not much of a smack talker. He's just a guy who likes football. And cartoons.

Eddie Lacy has been a shot of life to the Packers’ ground game, but he’s not much of a smack talker. He’s just a guy who likes football. And cartoons.

Following Jermichael Finley’s neck injury suffered against the Cleveland Browns, the “Jermichael Finley and M.D. Jennings Show” on WDUZ-Green Bay needed a substitute for its bi-weekly host (Finley), who was released from the hospital Oct. 24.

In stepped left guard Josh Sitton–the host of last year’s show–which airs Wednesdays from Thornberry Creek at Oneida, and running back Eddie Lacy, Sitton’s guest.

The first segment of the show features “Rookie”–the show’s mediator/host/caller-of-shots–and the host. So my job as the intern/audio-board-guy allowed me to sit down and talk with Lacy for a good ten minutes.

And for me, as a college kid/intern/audio-board-guy it was really cool.

If you didn’t know he was the most valuable player of last year’s BCS National Championship and–in his first season–perhaps the biggest reason for the Green Bay Packers’ sixth-ranked running game, you’d think he was just a regular 20-something guy. Like me, but cooler.

I had a few things written down that I wanted to ask about: a) his love for cartoons, which was brought to my attention by Ty Dunne’s awesome piece about Lacy from this past summer, b) what it’s like to play in Wisconsin after playing in Louisiana through high school and Alabama in college, and of course c) the Alabama Crimson Tide, Lacy’s alma mater, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the country.

“I’ve won a lot,” Lacy laughed in reference to his not-too-shabby career to date. “Not bad.”

He’s averaging 100 yards per game in his last three starts and leads the 2013 draft class in rushing yards through seven weeks, but Lacy is just a guy off the field. Football isn’t even his favorite sport to watch.

We talked about Alabama’s dominance, for which he was a part of three National Championship teams in four seasons, but he said the only sport he “really watch(es) is basketball.” (He’s a Dallas Mavericks fan.)

“Yeah, I like Dirk man,” said Lacy, whose excitement for his favorite player (Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki) was displayed by a smile that forced his eyes shut. “It’s not even about athleticism, at all.”

Lacy, a 5′ 11″ 230-pound battering ram, who, while certainly no slouch of an athlete, clocked a subpar 4.58 and 4.62 at Alabama’s pro day April 11. For Nowitzki, on the basketball court, it doesn’t come down to his shuttle time or vertical jump, it’s just playing basketball. Putting the ball through the net.

“He can get a shot off anywhere,” he said of Nowitzki. “Nine times out of ten, he’s going to make it. Unless it’s just one of those games.

Lacy may have had “one of those games” in the season opener at San Francisco, when he lost a fumble in the Packers’ own territory, or in week two when he suffered a concussion on the team’s first possession, but he’s had a few of those other games the past three weeks. With receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb sidelined with injuries, Lacy has become a focal point and welcome addition to the offense.

Still, when it comes to football and despite his personal success, Lacy’s not much of a talker. He’ll get excited after a big run but won’t be found talking smack to the other side–or pumping his chest and celebrating his own accomplishments.

“Nah,” Lacy said, shaking his head. “That ain’t my thing.”

Lacy–just several months my senior–is a lot of things for the Packers offense, but arrogant is not one of them.

Personally, at my age and as a guy who has never come remotely close to a professional football field or basketball court or (insert sport and court/field here), I feel like I’d probably enjoy talking about my success a little bit. Like, if I–right now–were leading all rookies in rushing yards, that’d be pretty cool. And yeah, playing for the Packers wouldn’t be horribly awful, either.

Lacy “didn’t know what to expect (on draft day) and was just happy to be in the draft,” but his fall to No. 61 overall in the second round wasn’t foreseen by most draftniks. NFL Network’s draft analyst Mike Mayock projected Lacy to the Packers at No. 26 in the first round.

Regardless of where he was drafted or projected, Lacy has been arguably the Packers’ most valuable offseason addition through seven weeks. And he’s not a big fan of watching himself on ESPN and hearing analysts gloat about the rookie’s fast start.

In fact, as of Wednesday, news of Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather’s suspension hadn’t yet gotten to Lacy. Meriweather received a suspension for helmet-to-helmet hits Oct. 20 against the Chicago Bears, and more than than a month ago, knocked Lacy out of the game with a similar hit on the Packers’ first possession.

“Really?” Lacy asked when I brought it up. “I don’t watch ESPN, but man, that was the first time I ever got hit like that.”

So far, what has perhaps hit Lacy the hardest since arriving in Green Bay is the cool October weather. He says long-sleeve weather is “right around the corner” but is anxious to (maybe) have “actual, like real snow” on Christmas for the first time.

“Outside of that, I don’t need any cold weather,” Lacy said. He made that clear.

What started as a cool opportunity for an interview ended as a sit-down conversation between two 23-year-old guys living in different worlds. Actually, we both reside in Green Bay, but you get it. He’s a rookie, and I’m a college senior–still a rookie in many areas of life and about to be a rookie to whomever and wherever employs me after graduation.

If there’s one word (there’s more) that I used too much in this article, it’s “cool.” But I’m a guy that won’t label an athlete one thing or another, personally, except for face-to-face encounters. And it only took ten minutes to tell me that Lacy is a cool guy.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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8 Responses to “Eddie Lacy starts fast, stays cool”

  1. Marques,

    That was one of the more enjoyable articles I’ve read by journalists or journalists students. Your enthusiasm comes through clearly in your words.

    Keep up the good work and good luck to your in your future career.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  2. Archie says:

    Lacy is one laid-back cool cat. Great smile. Will be interesting to see what he does on turf Sunday night as opposite to AD. I’m expecting 100+ yds on 15 to 18 carries. Hope to see Starks and Franklin ring up some yards too. Also confident in Jordy and Boink. I hope another player emerges on offensive side for Packers but I don’t know who. Maybe White breaks a big one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  3. tim says:

    Getting Eddie Lacy late in the second round was a steal of Aaron Rodgers – ish proportions. Well, almost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  4. Mike Sherman says:

    The Tyler Dunne article about Katrina was horrible and I selfishly wish Lacey like football more but he is a great back and we got him for a steal. Hopefully cold weather grows on him

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. tlvincent says:

    He is the real deal! both on the field and off, just a laid back off the field guy and a total bad ass football player between the lines. A great team mate too. Can’t say enough good things about Lacy the player and the guy! A GREAT PACKER already!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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