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With family present, Cooper ready for final audition

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Nic Cooper's son, Aaron, is getting to the age where he knows his dad is a football player. So when the Green Bay Packers fullback found out his parents would be bringing the 4-year-old to Lambeau Field for the first time to watch Cooper play tonight, that's all the motivation he needed. For the 5-foot-10, 249-pound Cooper and many of the team's other undrafted players, tonight's preseason finale against Kansas City serves as their final audition before midnight strikes and the NFL's mandatory roster reduction to 53 players dawns. Over the last month, Cooper has undergone a transformation from bell-cow running back at Division II Winston-Salem (N.C.) State to fullback for the Packers. He rushed his collegiate career with 3,430 career rushing yards and 43 touchdowns, both good for top four in program history. In Green Bay, he's flipped the switch to fullback, a position nearly every NFL team that contacted him projected him as after going undrafted in April's NFL Draft. Since arriving at Packers' camp, he's understood the change in job description. He has six carries in three preseason games and couldn't be happier. Now, Cooper is the blocker. The final read out of the backfield on check downs. The go-to-body in short-yardage scenarios. "It feels kind of like a reverse role now," said Cooper of the switch. "I remember when we were in goal-line (in college), our fullback would always get it. Now, it's like I'm the fullback in those spots, so it's kind of crazy, but it's all the same." Earlier this week, the Packers released fullback Jon Hoese, leaving Cooper as one of two fullbacks on the roster with veteran John Kuhn. The team kept Kuhn as its only fullback last year, but the big-bodied Cooper remains an intriguing prospect, practice squad or otherwise. Whatever happens during the cut down, Cooper is leaving those decision for Friday. Today, he's an NFL fullback and ready to show what he can offer. No nerves, only anticipation to play in front of his family. "This is like phase one, but it's the last stage," Cooper said. "It all comes down to this. Everything that I did up to this doesn't matter. It's about this week and going out there and playing my hardest. Being in front of the home crowd and being in front from my parents and my son, I feel great." -whodkiew@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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