Bill Schroeder knows that path.
On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers announced Schroeder — a Sheboygan native and former University of Wisconsin-La Crosse star — was going to retire as a member of the Green and Gold.
"It was a great privilege to have played for the Packers for the majority of my NFL career," Schroeder said in a news release issued by the Packers. "I am honored that the Green Bay Packers have allowed me to end my playing days as a member of one of the greatest franchises in professional sports. I look forward to my continued relationship with the team and helping them and the community in any way possible."
He played for the Packers from 1997 to 2001, catching 225 passes for 3,435 yards and 20 touchdowns. His biggest season came in 1999, when he caught 74 passes for 1,051 yards and five touchdowns. He finished with 999 yards in 2000, and scored a career-high nine touchdowns while ranking second in the NFL with 17.3 yards per catch in 2001.
He also played for Detroit (2002 and 2003) and Tampa Bay (2004), and retires with 304 catches, 4,583 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Schroeder was a sixth-round pick by the Packers in 1994 after playing football only one season. But, he was a 17-time track and field all-American at UW-La Crosse. Schroeder spent his rookie season on the practice squad. He was traded to New England during the 1995 training camp, and spent the season on injured reserve after breaking a foot during a preseason game. He returned to the Packers in 1996, and was on the Packers' practice squad during the team's run to the Super Bowl XXXI victory over New England.
"Bill Schroeder was a productive player for us on the field and contributed greatly to our efforts in the local community," Packers general manager Ted Thompson said. "He was a local boy who made good, and we're pleased to welcome Bill as a member of our alumni."
Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org