Players Take Interaction With Fans At Family Night Seriously

Despite a weather-shortened event last night at Lambeau Field, the players were happy to give back to the fans that support them.

Even though last night's Packers Family Night was cut short due to rain that eliminated player introductions and limited the scrimmage portion of the event to roughly 20 minutes, the players were still happy to provide their loyal followers with a unique fan experience.

Fans had to endure an offseason of uncertainty thanks to the NFL lockout, not sure when they'd see their beloved Packers. But Saturday's practice marked the first time since February's Return to Titletown event celebrating the Super Bowl XLV victory that tens of thousands of fans could flock to Lambeau Field to see the players in action.

"It was a lot of fun," said safety Charlie Peprah. "It's kind of our way of saying thanks of sticking with us through the lockout and support all through last season and even into this new season."

The scrimmage may have been cut short, but the organization was able to show their appreciation to the fans by giving away 90 custom no. 1 jerseys to randomly selected fans with "Packers" printed on the nameplate on the back.

When the rain finally subsided they were also able to give away the "Jerseys-Off-Our-Backs" promotion and hold the fireworks display that concluded the evening.

For the veteran players who had been able to experience the support of the fan base for several seasons, giving back was especially significant to them.

"Just imagine when you walk out there and there was 60,000 my rookie year," said 13-year veteran wide receiver Donald Driver.

The announced attendance of 43,048 didn't quite meet the 60,000 Driver met his first season with the Packers, but given the brief timeframe to make plans following the lockout, the tough economy and the weather forecast, it was still a sizable crowd for what essentially was a practice and not  a game.

Peprah found Family Night to be extra special in light of a not-so-special season the fans had to endure in the recent past.

"For me, I feel like it goes deeper than that," said Peprah. "I was here when we went 8-8, kind of a mediocre season.

"We get blown out that year, those fans were still standing in the crowd. We got blown out by the Patriots I think 42-0 and every one of them stayed in the stands, and as we were walking off, they were clapping and cheering and saying 'Get them next time.' I don't think there's any other fan base that would do that."

Defensive lineman Howard Green, for whom the Packers are the 11th team he's signed a contract with in his seven-year NFL career, he was glad to provide them with a little bit of entertainment for their support.

Green said last evening's event didn't even feel like practice; it felt like a game atmosphere with thousands of fans cheering the team on.

"It was a good feeling," said Green. "It's good to always let the fans know we love them and without them, this wouldn't be possible. And we just want to thank them for being here for us, always have been, I know they always will be."

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asshalo's picture

August 07, 2011 at 07:34 pm

It was 35-0, Charles, and I believe Mike McCarthy controversially claimed in the post-game that the Patriots were stealing plays.

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