Chad Greenway is carrying a bit more stress into the Thanksgiving holiday than most players that will be involved in the three NFL games to be played on Thursday.
The linebacker has never played on Thanksgiving, but this year his Minnesota Vikings will travel to play the Detroit Lions, leaving Wednesday and coming back Thursday after the early game (11:30 Central start) is completed. He’s hoping that his wife Jennifer doesn’t go into labor during that timeframe, but with their fourth child due any time, he knows it is a possibility.
“It’s one thing to play on Thanksgiving, which is fun for most of the country except if you’re involved in that game. We’re pretty used to not being around families on holidays, just with our profession, so I think you kind of get used to it, which doesn’t make it easier,” Greenway said. “But in this case, with the baby so close to coming, it makes it a lot of anxiety – you don’t know how it’s going to happen and you don’t want something bad to happen when you’re gone or have an emergency.”
Greenway declined to give a due date for the arrival of his fourth child, but said “there’s a chance” the baby could arrive while the Vikings are on the road. If that happens, he plans to hightail it back to the Twin Cities and be with his wife.
Asked if there was a scenario that would have him missing the game, Greenway, “You’re damn right if she’s having the baby. We’ll see how it goes. Get on Zygi’s plane.”
Greenway might have been joking about that scenario, but Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has given the use of his plane to players in the past, most notably when three former Vikings – Steve Hutchinson, Jared Allen and Ryan Longwell – infamously used the plane to fly to Mississippi to bring Brett Favre back to play for the Vikings in 2010.
Greenway simply isn’t sure if his own services on Thanksgiving will be needed professionally or personally. It all depends on the timing of the birth.
“There’s a chance. I have no idea how good,” he said.
“We’ve had four football babies; this will be our fourth. It’s just we’ve never had to travel. We’ve always been able to avoid that. We’ll see.”
The veteran Vikings linebacker has never played on Thanksgiving before, so all plans are tentative at this point.
“We’ve got our fourth child coming any day and we just don’t know anything that’s going on in our lives at this point. We’re on a minute-to-minute basis,” he said Tuesday after practice. “I might go in (the locker room) and have a call waiting to meet me … so we’ll see how it goes.”