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 email@example.com.
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