Frozen Tundra Turns Into Winter Wonderland

A blizzard hits Green Bay and is the talk of the locker room, and we've got reaction and some funny stories from people like Louisiana's Quinn Johnson and Alaska's Daryn Colledge.

With the Green Bay area getting socked with more than a foot of snow on Tuesday night and Wednesday, rookie fullback Quinn Johnson — who spent his entire life in Louisiana until being drafted by the Packers in April — has a word of advice: Stay out of his way on the highway.

"Yeah, pretty much, but I drive with my (flashers) on, so people know to get out of my way when I'm coming. That's the best I could do," the bruising fullback said with a laugh.

It might be Bears Week, but the talk in the locker room on Wednesday was the blizzard that struck the Upper Midwest.

While Johnson, who was born in Edgard, La., and played collegiately at Louisiana State, saw snow only once in his life until winter hit Green Bay with a fury, the storm wasn't anything unusual for North Pole, Alaska's Daryn Colledge.

"Well, I don't know if it's a day at the park for anybody, but I'd say I'm more adapted to it than most," said Colledge, who took a few moments early in the day to enjoy some doughnuts (driving, not breakfast). "The driving skills are probably higher on my end than some of the guys in this room. I made it to work on time, which I'm sure can't be said for everybody."

Coach Mike McCarthy got to work on time. And no, he doesn't pay to have his driveway plowed.

"Yep, got up about 4 a.m. I was so excited I got up at about 2 a.m., but waited until 4," McCarthy said. "The equipment makes a lot of noise. I probably don't have happy neighbors, but yeah, I got the driveway cleared and was at work at about 5:45."

For the few snowbound players, Rob Davis — the Packers' director of player development and former long snapper — was among a few people dispatched to get the players to work.

Or, just call rookie Evan Dietrich-Smith. The lineman is from Salinas, Calif., but played collegiately at Idaho State. Pocatello, Idaho, gets about 44 inches of snow every year, so the sight of fellow undrafted rookie Cyril Obiozor stuck in their apartment complex's parking lot conjured one word.

"Awesome!" he said with a big smile.

"That was pretty fun," he continued. "I kind of shoved him out a little bit and got him on his merry way out there and kind of saved the day. We barely made it here on time for the lift, but hey, we got here."

With the wonders of four-wheel drive, players like Aaron Rodgers and Johnny Jolly took the logical approach to the most challenging part of the morning commute: escaping their unplowed driveways.

"I couldn't believe how much snow was out there, so I shoveled just like four feet back of my garage and I just gunned it," Rodgers said. "I got out to the street. Once I got out to the street, one of my neighbors had already gone through, so I just went in his ruts and made it."

Life went on at 1265 Lombardi Ave., just it did for everyone else who had to endure a treacherous trip to work. That means players scheduled to lift weights had to show up before the 7:30 a.m. special-teams meeting. While McCarthy seemed to take the realities of the storm in stride, that wasn't quite the case in New England. Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas and Derrick Burgess showed up late because of a storm that hit the East. Coach Bill Belichick sent them home.

"They are actually kind of giddy about it to be honest with you in the locker room," McCarthy said. "Four-wheel drive and so forth, particularly the guys that hadn't seen that before. But that's the biggest storm that I have seen since I've been here. We were able to roll this morning. We've had a good day so far."

Even with the new Ray Nitschke practice field, which has Lambeau Field-style heating coils designed to keep 65 yards of the surface free of ice, the team will practice inside all week. The field won't be ready in time for Thursday's practice, and the "structure" of Friday's practices mean those workouts always are held in the Don Hutson Center.

Maybe by then, Johnson will have figured out what this cold, wet, white stuff is.

"Exactly, that's how I feel! What the hell is that?" Johnson said, repeating this reporter's question. "I was trying to figure out, ‘What should I be doing?' I don't know, I'm just trying to get advice from everybody right now. I'm clueless about it. I don't know how to drive in it. I don't know nothing, to be honest."


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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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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