Mario Williams majored in sacking quarterbacks at North Carolina State. It's a good thing he didn't major in climatology.
When Williams and the Houston Texans play the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field, it's supposed to be a frigid 17 degrees. Williams, however, didn't seem fazed that the weather might be less than ideal for a team from Houston.
"I'm from North Carolina," Williams declared. "It snows in North Carolina and it gets cold in North Carolina, so to me personally, I don't really care. If it snows, great."
"Cold" is a relative term from someone who grew up in Richlands, N.C., where the average high this time of year is 60 degrees.
"He said that?" Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said with a wide grin while shaking his head in disbelief. "He's going to be in for a surprise."
"North Carolina? North Carolina's more like Florida than it is Green Bay, I'll tell you that much," said defensive tackle Colin Cole, who was born in Toronto and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "There's a world of difference."
Pickett, a native of Zephyrhills, Fla., is in his third season in Green Bay after being a first-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2001. His body has grown accustomed — mostly — to the December through February freezer that is Green Bay.
"We live in it every day, so it's not a big deal to us," Pickett said.
"Being from the South coming in, I was always thought Green Bay was way too cold," he added. "So, it's definitely going to be a shock for them. Coming from warm weather and getting off the plane and stepping into this, you can't get used to it."
Not surprisingly given his gung-ho attitude, linebacker Brady Poppinga was excited about the prospects of playing in the cold.
"That's sweet, man," Poppinga said. "It's Green Bay. The Frozen Tundra is the name this place is called in the winter, so let's live up to it. Let's have it be a blizzard. Come on, it would be great."
While it won't be a blizzard — it's supposed to snow Saturday and Monday but not Sunday, according to the Weather Channel — it's still going to be cold for a team used to one 65-degree day after another this time of year.
"Woo. That's pretty cold to us, too," Pickett said of Sunday's forecast, which calls for a high temperature that's 12 degrees below normal.
Guard Daryn Colledge, however, sided with Williams. Then again, Colledge hails from North Pole, Alaska, where the average high this time of year is 1 degree. For someone who lives where the tundra really is frozen, 17 must seem like a trip to Bermuda.
"I don't think the weather is a big issue," Colledge said. "Everybody's a competitor and all of these guys are professional athletes. They want that challenge, so they're not going to tell you the weather's a problem. It probably won't be."
Bill Huber is the Lead Analyst for Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Williams' Words Produce Shivers
Packer Report Top Stories
Combine Research: Outside Linebacker (Part 2)Who did everything at college? Who is short on height but long on production? Who was deemed not good enough to stay on the roster? Who is following in his brother's walk-on…
Packer ReportSaturday at 8:07 PM
Combine Research: Outside Linebacker (Part 1)Who brought the hate for Alabama? Who is best known for his hair (and sacks)? Whose brother was a former NBA first-round draft pick? Those answers and more as we get to know the…
Packer ReportSaturday at 7:47 PM
Combine Research: Defensive Ends (Part 3)Who went from Tonga to unstoppable pass rusher? What elite rusher is a "unique cat" on and off the field? Who has a split personality? Those answers and more as we get to know the…
Packer ReportFriday at 7:25 PM
Combine Research: Defensive Ends (Part 2)Who was a star basketball player who honed his skills in the boxing ring? What small-school star's abs have abs? What star rusher was taken under his father's wing? Those answers…
Packer ReportFriday at 7:19 PM
Combine Research: Defensive Ends (Part 1)Which top prospect has been without his mom for most of his life? Who is the son of a former NFL star? Who are two of the top small-school standouts? Those answers and more as we…
Packer ReportFriday at 6:54 PM