Greenway Cool Under Pressure

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway knows his place in this world, whether it's on the football field or on the farm.

During his interview with reporters from around the country at February's NFL Combine, former Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway was pelted with questions about his farming life from the big-city media.

Greenway appeased one question after another and joked with reporters throughout the process. He continued to use his sense of humor Friday at Vikings training camp.

Greenway was married two weeks ago, but hasn't had much of honeymoon as he had to be concerned with contract negotiations that finally ended when he signed his contract Thursday, the day rookies reported to Mankato for the start of their training camp.

Asked if it would be strange to be rooming with someone other than his wife in his first NFL training camp, Greenway said, "It may be stranger for Ben (Leber) because I haven't really lived with my wife yet. We were sitting next to each other when Coach said to pick your roommate, (not because of) any South Dakota ties or anything."

Another reporter noticed that Greenway was still wearing his wedding ring after the morning practice, an oddity in the sports world and potential hazard on the field.

"I forgot to take if off today," Greenway said. "I meant to do that and I forgot. I haven't really asked her if it's OK to take it off. No, I'll be taking it off in the near future at some point so I don't break my finger."

A rookie in marriage and the NFL, Greenway already knows who is the boss in both fields. But when it came to adjusting to life at an NFL training camp, one of the first things Greenway mentioned didn't have anything to do with football. He might be more worried about an activity 5-year olds can handle rather than being concerned about a pulling All-Pro guard bearing down on him.

"The biggest thing was the bicycles," he said of the training camp tradition of riding bikes between the locker rooms and dorms. "I haven't ridden a bike in like six or seven years, so that's kind of fun. Living on a gravel road growing up, you don't ride bikes that often. So I had to make sure I knew what I was doing out there, so I don't embarrass myself with the cameras on."

Greenway said he receives no special treatment on the farm when he returns home and doesn't want any. Part of the advantage of going home is returning to the lifestyle he grew up with.

That was more apparent in the last month, when NFL players weren't required to be working out at the team complex. Greenway wanted to stay in shape, but there isn't exactly a world-class gym to train in near his hometown of Mount Vernon, S.D.

Instead, nature provided the gym.

"I have this big hill that I used to train on in high school when we won our state titles. I haven't trained on it in five years because I've always trained in Iowa because they have us there all summer. I haven't trained on my own in five years because coach (Chris) Doyle, our training coach at Iowa, has always taken care of us. So it was a little different this past month. But I went back to the old stomping grounds, the nine-man football training regimen, and it seemed to work. Time will tell to see what kind of shape I'm in."

One thing is for sure, Greenway's engaging personality is in shape.


  • Defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin acknowledged a wide-open competition at middle linebacker. "Right now it's Napoleon Harris, Dontarrious Thomas, and E.J. Henderson who will be doing some dual work," Tomlin said. "Napoleon Harris is a (strongside) backer, Dontarrious Thomas is a (strongside) backer. They all have dual positions, are learning at least two positions, but first and foremost E.J. will be playing (weakside) and he will slide over and cross-train. It will be those three guys."

  • Despite the signing of veteran Dwight Smith at free safety, Tomlin said Tank Williams will start camp at the top of the depth chart when veterans begin practicing on Monday. "We are not going to be close-minded. Anybody is capable of winning the starting job. Right now, Tank Williams is at the top of the depth chart. Dwight respects that and understands how we do business and that process. The guy that starts September 11 will be determined out there on the grass."

  • Despite some off-the-field issues with Smith, Tomlin said his familiarity with Smith from their days together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers helped shape the decision to offer him a contract. "You know how it is. Anytime you have a prior experience with somebody under duress, it is a comforting thing. Dwight is a guy that shows up when the lights are on. He is at his best in big games, and that has been my experience with him. That's why I was excited about having the opportunity to pursue him."

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