If this were a case of the local boy being given a shot with his hometown team, it would’ve happened months ago.
Drew Vanderlin, a graduate of Green Bay Southwest High School, had a tryout with the Packers during their rookie orientation camp in May. But after the three-day camp, the 6-foot-3, 288-pound defensive end from Michigan Tech didn’t get signed to the roster.
Summer came and went and no other NFL teams called, so he took a job coaching at UW-Stevens Point.
Until yesterday, when Packers director of pro personnel Eliot Wolf called to offer him a spot on the practice squad.
“It was a very long wait,” Vanderlin said. “It was a tough road. At some points, it was like, ‘Is this ever going to happen?’ You always kept the faith and keep pushing, but at the same time once training camp ended, I kind of thought that was it. Once I got that call yesterday, it kind of came full circle.”
While this is different than a tryout, Vanderlin knows he may not have much time to impress given how much the eight-man practice squad can turn over. So don’t expect him to spend much time thinking about how cool it is that a local kid has made it this far.
“Eliot reminded me on the phone yesterday it’s a business, and that’s how you have to attack it,” Vanderlin said. “Anything can happen. I can only worry about what I can control, and that’s just going out there every day and practicing as hard as I can and giving a good look with the look team and just trying to, like I did in the minicamp, just open some eyes and hopefully I can keep that momentum going and make a long run.”