Blackmon Gets Second Chance at Super Bowl

Unable to rebound from a knee injury, Will Blackmon missed an opportunity to be a part of the Packers' Super Bowl ride last season. After another knee surgery, Blackmon is back and will be handling kick-return duties for the Giants on Sunday.

Will Blackmon was the Green Bay Packers' fourth-round draft pick in 2006. He returned a punt for a touchdown in 2007 and two punts for touchdowns in 2008. He sustained a season-ending knee injury early in the 2009 season, then didn't make the final roster in 2010 after being plagued by soreness throughout training camp. He played five games for the Giants in 2010 before going back on injured reserve. He had surgery on the knee again after the season, with doctors telling him he wouldn't play this season, but he was re-signed by the Giants on Nov. 23.

Packer Report talked to Blackmon last week to put a bit of a Packers spin on Sunday's Super Bowl.

I'll start by asking something you've probably been asked a thousand times by now: How does it feel to get to the Super Bowl?

Wow, it's a rush. Just to get here period, there's guys who haven't gone their whole career. There's some guys who haven't even won a playoff game, let alone gone to the Super Bowl, so it's a blessing.

To state the obvious, having knee surgery and not being with the team at the start of this season must have been horribly disappointing.

I had to do my surgery over. I guess there were some complications and it wasn't properly done. I didn't get the proper rehab, as well, so I got the whole thing done over again. I'm good now. It was disappointing but, at the same time, it was necessary because my leg wasn't even healed. I did what I had to do.

I'm interested in having you think back to last year, when the Packers made their Super Bowl run. Were you excited for them? Was part of you thinking, "Dang, that should have been me."

In training camp, I knew that with the energy there, that something good was going to happen. I definitely wanted to be a part of it. All of my best friends were there so I definitely wanted to make the run with them. I was definitely happy for them to get there, especially with everything they'd gone through — we'd gone through, because I was a part of it — with the whole Brett thing and with Aaron. I was excited for Aaron. Everything happens for a reason. When I had surgery, the only place I wanted to come back to was New York because I knew they had something special here, too. It's a real family-oriented organization, so I'm happy to be here.

You mentioned it earlier, with some guys never even winning a playoff game, but was part of you wondering that last year should have been your shot?

Every year's a new year. You can only control what you can control. Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn't. That's just how life is, too. I've gone through enough adversity that I'm good at handling things when they don't go my way.

They could have used a returner here last year, you know.

Yeah, I know. That's true. They had no one back there. They threw Tramon back there but they wanted to be careful with him.

Can you talk about the similarities between the Packers and the Giants? You mentioned that the Giants are family-oriented ...

For starters, we have a great quarterback, No. 1. Great quarterback and leaders everywhere. You have to have leaders, because when the coach wants a response from his players, he needs to have a voice and have those leaders round up the troops. Having that rapport is important to keep the show on the road and everyone on the same page. That's definitely one similarity. In Green Bay, you had Charles, he was the guy that everybody looked to. We have guys over here like Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle and Justin Tuck and Osi (Umenyiora) just on the defense. I could go down the list. It comes down to the leadership.

I saw you talking to Joe Philbin before the game here a couple weeks ago. I'm not going to ask you to tell me what you talked about, but what was that conversation like?

It wasn't really a conversation. We understood what it was about. I wanted to shake his hand and give him a hug. I didn't want to say anything or get his mind back on his past.

Pretty special feeling to come here and beat the Packers?

It was cool, man. I'm not one to go out there and be vindictive and try to get revenge, but it was cool to go back and get a win. It was weird to be there. It wasn't as weird for them to come here but it was weird to go back there. I'd never in my five years there been in the visitors' locker room. I didn't even know where it was. It was weird knowing that the place that I owned was only about 5 minutes away.

You mentioned Eli a few minutes ago. You've been blessed: Favre to Rodgers to Eli. You're doing something right.

Yeah, Brett to Aaron to Eli, I've been very fortunate. We've had a lot of success, and that just shows you how important the quarterback position is.

There was so much talk about Tom Coughlin getting fired a month or two ago, but here he is, on the brink of a second Super Bowl win. What makes him tick and what makes you guys play for him?

People have this thought of him being this really hard-nosed, aggressive, no-nonsense kind of guy, but he instills structure in us and discipline. Every time he gives a speech, you hear it and it comes from his heart. It's not something that he spent all night writing on a piece of paper. He comes there and he has no sheet and he speaks from the heart. You want to play for somebody like that who believes in everybody. He gets the best out of you and it trickles down through the locker room because we're a really tight-knit group.

I'm sure you've been dreaming about this moment for as long as you've played football. Has it sunk in yet?

I'm ready to go out there and play, man. When we won against San Fran, it was a huge game and a nail-biter and I was excited, but I kept my cool because I just want to win the Super Bowl. That's what you play Pop Warner for, that's why you play flag football, high school, college.

You've had so much bad luck with injuries, so this has to be pretty rewarding.

Yeah. Everything happens for a reason so you have to keep plugging away. To be here in this organization, where they did everything to help me out and make sure that I'm healthy, Mr. Reese (Jerry Reese, the general manager), Mr. Mara (John Mara, the co-owner) and Mr. Tisch (Steve Tisch, the team's chairman and CEO), they gave me another shot to work out for the team and they brought me back. I'm very blessed to be here and I'm very grateful.


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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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