Rings of Honor

Thursday night will be the icing on the cake as the world champions receive their Super Bowl rings in a private ceremony at Lambeau Field. We've got comments from several players and team officials as the anticipation had been building over the last couple of weeks.

In a masterstroke of motivation, coach Mike McCarthy had his Green Bay Packers fitted for their Super Bowl rings on the night before the big game.

On Thursday night, the players, coaches, scouts and support staff will receive those rings in a team-only ceremony in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

"I was talking to (assistant college scouting director) Shaun Herock about that this morning," assistant director of player personnel Eliot Wolf told Packer Report recently for a story that will be published in the Training Camp Preview edition of the magazine. "You have no idea. I'm a little overexcited, I think."

Overexcited? Probably not.

"Everybody wants to see that ring," safety Nick Collins said at Donald Driver's charity softball game.

"I can't wait. I can't wait until the 16th," Driver said. "I called Wood (Charles Woodson), sent him a nice little text message and called him and said, 'It's time. We're going to get those things we dreamed of for a long time.' And he said, 'Drive, the ring.' That's all he kept saying, 'The ring.' And finally, we got it. We both can say we got it."

It's been more than four months since the Packers outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-26 on Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium. The ceremony figures to rekindle the otherworldly feelings from that unforgettable night.

"That's going to make it real," kicker Mason Crosby said. "Winning the Super Bowl, it's been an amazing time this spring, but once we have that ring on our hand, it's going to kind of finish it off and make it real."

"Oh, man, it's going to be great," cornerback Tramon Williams said at Greg Jennings' charity golf tournament last week. "Reality might set back in. I might get that Super Bowl buzz again. Hopefully it gets us motivated to come back and do it again. I'm already motivated, myself, but definitely when you see that ring, it might give you a whole other feeling."

One of the unfortunate byproducts of the lockout, several players have said, is that the labor unrest has taken some of the shine off of the championship. By now, the Packers would be in the midst of their fourth or fifth week of on-the-field practices. Instead of practicing and joking in the locker room, the players for the most part have been apart since the season ended.

"That's one thing that we weren't quite sure of, if we were going to do this because of the lockout," lineman T.J. Lang told Packer Report recently. "I think once we get those, that'll kind of make the whole experience settle in a little more. When I look back, it's kind of hard to convince myself that it actually happened. It all seems like it flew by so fast and we didn't get enough time to celebrate it. Once we get the rings and see the rest of the guys on the team and have a chance to celebrate it one more time, that'll be special. That'll be a special night."

For grizzled veterans like Driver, Woodson and Chad Clifton, as well as coaching lifers like McCarthy, Feb. 6 was the crowning achievement of their careers.

"To me, the ring ceremony is what it's all about," McCarthy said at his charity golf tournament in Green Bay recently. "You have an opportunity to talk to former players and coaches that have been through the Super Bowl experience, that's when it comes together. It's been very disjointed just for a number of different reasons coming off the season, the labor situation, you don't feel like you're in a normal routine. Personally, I don't know if it's really hit me yet. I think it will hit me that evening because you don't really have the opportunity to celebrate as a team, where if you were in a normal offseason program, you'd have the opportunity to be around most of your players and relive the experience and have the interaction that you'd normally have with any group of people after you accomplish something."

"Bill, it's awesome," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said recently. "For me, growing up around this game, coaching it for a long time, I've got a family history with it with my father (college legend R.C. Slocum), it's incredible. I always wanted to coach in the NFL. I can remember watching Super Bowls in years past when I was a young coach and just getting a lump in my throat when they're introducing everybody. It's really special. To know that I was part of the Green Bay Packers and one of their championships, it's a very rewarding feeling."

Not that anyone is resting on their laurels.

"To me, one is good but we're on a roll," college scouting director John Dorsey told Packer Report recently. "Let's get two. Let's have some fun."


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.


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