Wis. Native "Living Dream" in GB Camp
Next game: Saturday, August 15th vs. Cleveland
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Of the 80 players on the Packers' roster, nobody was looking forward to the Family Night Scrimmage on Saturday more than rookie receiver Kole Heckendorf.
Heckendorf, a native of Mosinee, Wis., holds state high school records for career receptions, yards and touchdowns. Instead of creating fireworks on the field with his family in attendance at Lambeau Field, Heckendorf had to settle for watching the fireworks after the football portion was canceled because of storms.
"Got to run out the tunnel and warm up and then went back in and didn't get to go back out," he said with a laugh after Monday's practice. "It was a weird feeling, but what can you do? Just get ready for (Saturday's home game against) the Browns and have it be a real game."
Heckendorf went undrafted after starting all but one game during his career at North Dakota State, fighting through a bout with Lyme's disease before his senior season. He was a standout performer during the noncontact offseason practices, and he's carried that forward.
"As far as a rookie, I think he's very advanced," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "It's going to be his task this preseason to really make the most of his opportunities and realize that he's going to get a lot of game time in our first preseason game, our second preseason game and the fourth one. He's going to need to make the most of those opportunities, and if he does that, he's going to have a good shot to be in the mix."
With the Packers returning five veteran receivers, the practice squad is Heckendorf's goal. Doing so would allow him to add some muscle to his 6-foot-2, 191-pound frame.
"He's a very good route-runner, has a good understanding of how to create separation," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's not the biggest young man and that's something he can improve on. But you can see why he was a very productive player in college."
Even though he's been a Packer for more than three months, calling Lambeau Field his workplace remains a thrill.
"Every kid's dream is to play in the NFL, and you can't ask for a better team to play on than the Pack for me," he said. "I'm living a dream and I want to keep it going."
NOTES: Ten players were out, including unsigned first-round pick B.J. Raji. McCarthy had nothing to update. ... The other first-round pick, Clay Matthews III, remains out (hamstring), and the player he's battling for the starting job, Jeremy Thompson, dropped out after aggravating a stinger. ... Linebacker Brandon Chillar collided with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but everyone was OK. ... Mason Crosby made 6-of-9 field goals, including a miss from only 28 yards.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)