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Packers practice draws fans from Redskins country, other countries

Jul. 29, 2013
 
Packers fans talk about which  players they'll mis...
Packers fans talk about which players they'll mis...: Fans talk at training camp Sunday about which Green Bay Packers players they'll miss most. (July 28, 2013)
Green Bay Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga signs autographs for fans during training camp, Sunday, July 28, 2013. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers rookie running back Johnathan Franklin signs autographs for fans during training camp, Sunday, July 28, 2013. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media

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Deb Lewis has lived in Washington Redskins country for 20 years, but don’t ask her for details on that team’s star quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

“RJIII, RGIII, whatever, I don’t even know what number he wears,” Lewis said Sunday outside Green Bay Packers practice at Ray Nitschke Field. “I’m a Packer fan for life.”

The Fairfax Station, Va., resident was one of many people from outside Wisconsin to visit a Packers practice this weekend. Fans from across the nation, and from several foreign countries, took advantage of the chance to watch their team work out in the shadow of Lambeau Field.

Maps posted on easels outside the practice field Sunday were dotted with push-pins designating fans’ home towns. One pin indicated that a practice-watcher had come all the way from Brisbane, Australia; several other nations were represented.

A number of visitors said they have connections to the community, the team, or both.

“I live in Fort Worth, Texas, but I went to high school right down the road here,” said Marshall Humphrey, nodding in the general direction of Ashwaubenon High School. “I’m a Jaguar, class of ‘76.”

Humphrey, who predicted a big year for Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, clearly has stayed connected to his hometown team. But even some folks who didn’t grow up with the Pack have been learning.

Take Garra Williams of Lincoln, Neb. She hadn’t followed a particular team during the Brett Favre era, but became a Packers fan thanks in part to a relationship.

“My boyfriend just became a stock owner, so that was exciting,” said Williams, who was decked out in a Packers hoodie and a Clay Matthews T-shirt. “I’m likin’ what I’m seeing from (rookie running back James) Franklin. He was making some good returns out there.”

Sunday morning was the first time this summer that the team had practiced in full pads.

No practice is scheduled today; the Packers are scheduled to hold morning practices at Nitschke Field off Armed Forces Drive again on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before holding a night session on Friday.

dschneid@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @PGDougSchneider

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
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It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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