Masthay and kicker Mason Crosby needed some footballs so they could kick at nearby St. Norbert College. So, Masthay went shopping.
"I didn't take any footballs with me before the lockout, and then once that happened, we couldn't go up there and get any," Masthay told Packer Report on Thursday. "So, I went to the Pro Shop and bought about five footballs."
Shopping list aside, what a difference a year has made for Masthay.
Masthay entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky in 2009 but was released by Indianapolis before even launching a punt during the preseason. In a barely noted transaction, the Packers signed him shortly after the 2009 season ended, and he spent last spring battling Australian import Chris Bryan.
Masthay won the job, and after a shaky first six games, he emerged as one of the NFL's top punters. In his last 10 regular-season games, Masthay's net average was 39.8 yards. Taken over a full season, he would have ranked fourth in the NFL in net behind Dallas' Mat McBriar (dome), Oakland's Shane Lechler (warm climate) and St. Louis' Donnie Jones (dome).
Thus, whenever the lockout ends, Masthay will enter the season as the Packers' undisputed punter. Nonetheless, Masthay says he hasn't tinkered with his rigorous offseason training regimen. In March and April, he spent about three weeks in Southern California working with several kickers and punters, including John Carney, Nick Novak and Drew Weatherford. He's also worked out on his old college campus, including a session punting to former Kentucky teammate and new Packers teammate Randall Cobb. And for the last month-and-a-half, he's been kicking with Crosby, something he'll continue doing for most of the remainder of the offseason.
"My training doesn't really change," Masthay said. "I feel good about how I've been training this whole past year. I will say this: My confidence has gone to a new level — my confidence and my comfort — because I've kind of resolved the question in my mind of whether or not I could play in this league and whether or not I could be a productive player in this league. I feel more confident moving forward. On top of that, I had the awesome privilege of playing for the Packers and to play for such a great team that we could win the Super Bowl."
Beyond having to buy his own footballs, the lockout takes Masthay back to 2009, when he was out of the league and kicking on his own.
"It affects everyone's training because," Masthay said. "One, you don't have the team environment and, two, you don't have the same resources in your coaches and your film room and the weight room and the Don Hutson Center. Yeah, it's a lot like when I was a free agent and just trying to find spots to work out and stay ready to go."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.