GREEN BAY - Earlier this week, Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander spoke to one of his former cornerbacks coaches at Louisville. The coach told Alexander he was proud of his former pupil and excited to watch his career unfold at Lambeau Field.
The coach’s name is Terrell Buckley, a first-round pick by the Packers in 1992.
“He was telling me congrats,” Alexander said after Friday’s practice inside the Don Hutson Center. “He said he likes what I’ve been doing.”
Buckley, 46, is now the cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State, where he works alongside former Packers wide receivers coach Luke Getsy, now the offensive coordinator and receivers coach for the Bulldogs. But from 1992-94 he was a cornerback for the Packers whose tenure in Green Bay was both brief and disappointing. Buckley had 10 interceptions in three years but his diminutive stature — he’s only 5-9 — led to an unwritten rule that would be passed down by former general manager Ron Wolf: The Packers don’t draft cornerbacks smaller than 5-10½.
Which makes it fitting that from 2015-16, the first two years of Alexander’s collegiate career, it was Buckley who was responsible for molding a player the Packers hope can transform their secondary. Especially since Alexander, who stands 5-10¼, breaks the rule created for his coach.
“T-Buck, he taught me a lot of technique,” Alexander said. “As far as swagger goes, I tell T-Buck all the time, ‘I got my swag from T-Buck.’ So he knows that. He played with some swagger too, now, if you watched him.”
Alexander said Buckley described what it’s like to play in Green Bay, from the strong and supportive fan base to the community itself. But even Buckley’s pep talk couldn’t prepare Alexander for his first glimpse of Wisconsin.
“Never in my life did I think I’d be here in Wisconsin, so it’s an experience,” Alexander said. “It’s definitely different. Even the plane ride coming in, I’m like, ‘Man, there’s so many fields and stuff.’ I don’t know what to expect. But it’s been pretty cool.”
Sheehy aboard: Former Wisconsin defensive end Conor Sheehy signed as an undrafted free agent, the Packers said.
The 6-3, 295-pound Sheehy was a late addition to the Packers’ roster after two free agents who had agreed to sign were not added. The Packers never announced that Minnesota State–Morehead tight end Damon Gibson and Portland State cornerback Chris Seisay had signed, but their agents had confirmed reports they were headed to Green Bay.
It’s possible both failed their physicals.
Sheehy had taken a “local” pre-draft visit, which are limited to players who are from the Green Bay area or attended school in the state. They must pay for their own travel to the facility.
Sheehy, who attended Milwaukee's Marquette University High School, started 33 games for the Badgers and finished with 95 tackles (13½ for loss).
Old college try:The Packers had 16 players take part in their rookie orientation on a tryout basis, including former Wisconsin safety Joe Ferguson.
The others were quarterback Nick Stevens (Colorado State); cornerbacks Mike Minter (Middle Tennessee State) and Tray Mitchell (Eastern Illinois); running backs Sherman Badie (Tulane) and Anthony Philyaw (Howard); fullback Caleb Melton (Cal Poly); tight ends Marcus Bryan (UNC-Wilmington) and Ryan Smith (Miami, Ohio); linebackers Greer Martini (Notre Dame), Derek McCartney (Colorado), Jacob Onyechi (Air Force) and Xavier Thigpen (Southern Mississippi); end Mack Weaver (Eastern Illinois); guard R.J. Prince (North Carolina) and tackle Sunny Odogwu (UCLA).
Signed and sealed:The Packers wasted no time signing two late-round draft picks to rookie contracts, finishing four-year deals with punter JK Scott and long snapper Hunter Bradley.
Due to the rookie salary-cap pool, contracts are much easier to do because teams generally pay a percentage increase over the player who was selected in that same slot last year.
Scott was selected in the 172nd spot. Last year, Denver Broncos receiver Isaiah McKenzie was taken in the same slot and signed a four-year, $2.635 million deal that included $235,844 in guarantees.
Bradley was the 239th pick. Last year with that pick, the Dallas Cowboys signed receiver Noah Brown to a four-year, $2.472 million deal that included $71,938 in guarantees.
Because both players are specialists, it’s possible they received little to no increase over the respective deals from last year.
The Packers’ rookie pool amount has not yet been released.
House deal: Cornerback Davon House signed a one-year, $1.005 million deal that featured a veteran minimum salary-cap benefit.
Under veteran minimum rules, House receives the minimum base salary for a player with seven-to-nine years of experience ($915,000) and can receive up to $90,000 in guaranteed money. The Packers gave House the full guaranteed amount.
House counts only $720,000 against the cap under the veteran minimum benefit, which was created so that older players wouldn't be passed over because they have high minimum salaries and would count more against the cap than a younger player.
Not counting the two rookie signings, the Packers are roughly $16.5 million under the salary cap.