GREEN BAY, Wis. When Packers rookie running back Brandon Saine arrived to Lambeau Field on the first day back after the teams bye week, the former Ohio State Buckeye expected just another day on the practice squad.
Then, during a 7:30 a.m. meeting, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum hinted that Saines role on the team was about to change.
Coach Slocum was talking to me about how I was going to be on the punt team, and I was like, What? Saine said.
At the conclusion of that meeting, Saine was given the official word that he had been selected to replace fellow rookie running back Alex Green on the Packers 53-man roster. Green suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 at Minnesota and was placed on injured reserve Monday.
Saine was about to get another surprise.
When he got to his locker which, along with the rest of the practice squad players, is tucked away in a back corner of the teams locker room, separate from the players on the active roster his jersey was hanging up. No other practice squad players had their jerseys set out for them.
Unbeknownst to Saine, Monday was team picture day and only players on the 53-man roster are part of it. With Saine having just been called up within the hour, he just made the cut to join Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and the rest of the team on the field for the photo.
That was the craziest thing for me, Saine said of being invited to be in the team picture. I didnt even know thats how it worked. I was definitely thankful that I got to take part in that.
Saines next move is that he will be leaving the back corner of the locker room and moving to an open locker near running backs Ryan Grant and James Starks.
Saine was not drafted after playing four seasons at Ohio State, but signed with the Packers the first day after the lockout ended.
It still hasnt really hit me that Im going to get this opportunity, Saine said. To now have the ability to have a chance to get on the field is huge for me.
Saines best season in college was his junior year when he ran for 739 yards and four touchdowns.
With Starks and Grant getting the carries this season in the Packers running game, Saine will just fill in on special teams just as Green had been doing. It was as a blocker on a kickoff return that Green had his knee rolled up.
Brandon earned this opportunity, coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. Im excited for him. Hes done a very good job throughout his time here. Training camp he was obviously impressive. He was a very nice surprise for me, personally. Hes someone that we felt was a no-brainer. Brandon is ready for this opportunity.
While it was all good news for Saine, it came at the expense of Green.
Green walked into the locker room Monday on crutches, his left knee in a brace and still swollen eight days after the injury. Due to the swelling, doctors have not yet been able to perform surgery.
They thought it was the MCL and ACL first, but I guess its just the ACL, said Green, the Packers third-round pick out of Hawaii. If there is any good news, itd be that, that its not both.
Green had only been given three rushing attempts all season, but McCarthy had installed a couple offensive packages for him in the game against the Vikings. But Green never got that chance as his injury happened in the first minute of that game.
I was supposed to play more than Id been playing, so that was kind of frustrating for me, Green said. Then went I went down, I was like, Dang. That was my chance to get in a lot. But things happen for a reason. Im just trying to figure out what it is.
I can already tell that mentally its going to be a challenge to just stay in-tune with everything and not get too down and try to look at things with a positive outlook.
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