It’s shorts season in Green Bay once again. That time of year when we read about some unlikely, unknown or underdog player that suddenly flashes a “ton of talent” and is the surprise of OTA or mini-camp practices. Media members, bloggers and fans get themselves all in a tizzy over the possibilities.
I first fell victim to this unrealistic euphoria in the summer of 2009, when this website was not even six months old. The object of my affection that summer was Jeremy Thompson, who while running around in shorts, had supposedly risen to the top of the depth chart at one of the OLB spots in the newly-instituted Dom Capers 3-4 defense. Thompson took the first snaps at the position, even before new first-round draft pick Clay Matthews. If you’d like a humorous stroll down OTA memory lane, you can read the article I wrote about Thompson at the time.
Once the pads came on in training camp, it became obvious the NFL-caliber skills were just not there. Thompson plummeted down the depth chart and saw very limited playing time in six games, recording one tackle. Then in December of 2009, he suffered an unfortunate career-ending neck injury.
The injury notwithstanding, Jeremy Thompson taught me a lesson that year: pay little attention to the unexpected “stars” of OTAs until a few weeks into training camp.