GREEN BAY – When it comes to the rookie orientation camp, Mike McCarthy seldom doles out high praise. The Green Bay Packers coach sees the annual post-draft camp as being important for reasons beyond on-field drills, so he only has one of the practices open to reporters and tries not to read much into each session.
But even McCarthy couldn’t help himself when he saw undrafted rookie free agent running back Angelo Pease during Friday’s first practice on a run play during an 11-on-11 team period. In fact, when Pease started right, cut back left and took off on a long run, McCarthy didn’t even realize it was the guy who carried the ball only 96 times in two seasons at Kansas State. McCarthy thought it was second-round pick Eddie Lacy, the odds-on favorite to be the team’s starting running back.
“That’s a big time cut. Frankly, I thought it was Eddie Lacy, the way he dropped his weight and hit the hole,” McCarthy gushed. “Those are things we’re looking for.”
Pease, meanwhile, is simply looking for a chance. The first he’d heard of McCarthy’s praise for him was when a reporter told him about it, and he certainly wasn’t letting it go to his head with two rookies (Lacy, fourth-round pick Johnathan Franklin) and three veterans (DuJuan Harris, Alex Green and James Starks) already ahead of him on the depth chart.
“I have two dudes ahead of me, and I’ve always had to work and make a name for myself, so I think it’s very important for me to make a first impression to the coaches,” Pease said after practice Saturday. “All my life I’ve been in competition. I’ve never backed off any competition.
“Just because I heard (what McCarthy said) now, that doesn’t mean I’ve got some type of role over somebody. I’m still going to bust my tail every play just like he didn’t say that.”
Pease, a Georgia native, started out at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, where he played quarterback as a freshman before moving to running back and rushing for 834 yards and nine touchdowns on 155 carries as a sophomore. He transferred to Kansas State and saw his most extensive action as a senior last year, carrying 60 times for 333 yards.
“In college, I feel like my talented were hidden a little bit. I know what I’m capable of doing. As soon as I get an opportunity to show what I can do, I try my best to do it,” Pease said. “Whenever I get my opportunity, I try to shine.”
Pease said he signed with the Packers after going undrafted because his agent told him it was a good fit – even though the Packers had just drafted Lacy and Franklin. Pease also said he never asked his agent if any other NFL teams had expressed an interest.
Now, he’s making the best of a challenging situation.
“I’m going to go out there every day and give it my all in everything I do – if it’s running back, if it’s special teams,” Pease said. “Anything they want me to do, I’m going to give it my all.”
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There are no games scheduled for today.