New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady isn't the only NFL player who has been sparring with padded gloves this offseason. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley took up boxing as a conditioning diversion and has attracted disciples in teammates such as linebackers Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar.
The physical demands of stepping into the ring and trading punches with another has left the players feeling KO'd at times.
"I promise you, boxing is a different story," Finley told Packers.com. "It's an intense workout. I was dying out there."
Finley began training with pro boxer Brian Vera in Austin, Texas, where Finley played college football for Texas.
After a breakthrough second pro season in which he had 55 catches for 676 yards and five touchdowns in 2009, Finley continues to supplement boxing with the football workouts in the Packers' offseason program this spring.
"I think we got a chance that we may have an All-Pro type," head coach Mike McCarthy said.
Barnett and Chillar, meanwhile, have been accompanying Finley to a Green Bay gym for boxing workouts a few nights a week.
"It's a whole different type of shape you've got to get into," Barnett told Packers.com. "Boxing shape and football shape are two different things, and to have your arms up throwing punches, it's very draining.
"It's very good for us linebackers, though, because we do a lot of ... not punching, but punching in the essence of pushing guys off of us."
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