People would circle the park ... and then circle again. John Leglue eventually noticed that even at a social distance, people were noticing him.
Then again, it’s not often that passersby see a giant man alone on the grass kicking out a leg backward off an imaginary snap of a football, then angling in reverse while getting their hands into a vertical position to ward off an invisible pass rusher.
“Yeah, I’ve definitely had people just act like they’re running just to give me somewhat of a look when I get off the ball,” the 6-foot-6, 304-pound Leglue said.
Leglue was signed by the Green Bay Packers off the New Orleans Saints' practice squad Dec. 21 and joined a locker room that was two days away from clinching the NFC North. An undrafted prospect signed by Denver in 2019 out of Tulane, Leglue never saw the field over the final two regular-season games or the Packers’ playoff run, but he felt right at home at Lambeau Field.
The second-year tackle is hoping to enter 2020 training camp with a chance to stick, but like everyone else in the NFL that path was diverted when team facilities around the country shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. That left Leglue in an apartment in New Orleans near his alma mater, where he had been using its weight room and football facilities to train until it closed.
Afterward he was left to working out with kettlebells, running around the block and working on his technique solo in front of onlookers at the park. It has been a bit of a throwback for the Alexandria, Louisiana, native who came from a humble high school weight room and used to run the levee of the Red River back in his youth.
“Without having a barbell, not being able to squat as much weight (is different) but the good thing is you’re able to work on more injury-prevention stuff with the bands,” he said. “I guess you’re focusing more on the little muscles and making sure you’re still activating your quick-twitch muscles so you’re able to move well whenever we are called to come back to Green Bay.”
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While being in New Orleans may not sound too bad, Leglue is 200 miles away from family, and a planned trip to a friend’s wedding in Guatemala was canceled. So FaceTime has been the way to go for a proud uncle, even if there is a tinge of sadness that it’s the only way to see his niece and others.
“The other day she had a little pink Packers shirt on and she went on and said ‘Go Pack Go!’ and I thought it was the cutest thing ever,” Leglue said. “She’s learning a lot. She’s getting big. It really stinks not being able to go home and see my grandmas. Both my grandfathers had passed away but it just sucks not being able to go see them especially being home and not knowing when I’m going back to Green Bay.”
He also has seen his girlfriend and other friends lose their jobs as they weren’t working in essential fields, so Leglue has seen firsthand the struggles the pandemic has caused. Stuck at home, he has been like everyone else with burning out his streaming services, occasionally getting in a boat to fish and focusing on his makeshift home workouts.
“I mean, about everything it’s just more changing the mindset knowing you’re stuck in your house and you’re trying to stay so far away from everybody and it’s all going to pay off in the long run,” he said. “You’ve just got to keep a level focus and just keep going on about it every day.”