Rookie Linsley befriends youngster with ailing mom

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Packers rookie center Corey Linsley and Travis Kohlbeck, 10, pose with the bike Linsley bought Sunday for his bike kid.

As a rookie trying to make the Green Bay Packers' roster, Corey Linsley has a lot of things on his plate these days.

That's what makes the daily interaction with his 10-year-old bike kid, Travis Kohlbeck, a breath of fresh air.

Linsley met Kohlbeck on the second day of training camp when the youngster asked the center if he'd care to ride his bicycle to practice.

In the excitement of the moment, Kohlbeck forgot to jot down which number Linsley was.

"When I was riding back here, I went up to him and he was like, 'I already have a rider. Do you know where Corey Linsley is?'" Linsley recalled with a smile. "I'm like, 'Travis, I am Corey.' ... Travis is just a ball of energy."

The bond has continued to develop over the past week. Kohlbeck reminds Linsley a lot of himself at that age, and through their conversations, Linsley began to understand Travis and his situation a little more.

Kohlbeck's mother, Alicia, was recently hospitalized with an undisclosed illness, which got Linsley thinking about something he could do for the boy. So he asked Kohlbeck for his father's phone number to see if he could stop by during the team's off day on Sunday.

The two drove to Toys R Us where they purchased a new Schwinn, a bicycle they'll share for the rest of training camp.

"He's been riding it I'm sure nonstop. He took off as soon as we got back to the house," Linsley said Monday. "I was like, 'I'll befriend this kid and see how much I can help out.' I figured I'd buy a bike. It's appropriate for the situation."

Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley (63) visits withTravis Kohlbeck's family before training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.  Linsley and Travis, 10, of Ashwaubenon, rode to training camp practice together. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

Outside of a one-day layoff for a shoulder injury, Linsley has been off to a strong start in his first NFL camp as the No. 2 center behind JC Tretter, particularly in one-on-one work.

Amidst the commotion of trying to make the 53-man roster, it's sometimes difficult to see the bigger picture. His newfound relationship with Kohlbeck has certainly given him that.

"As a kid, I just remember looking up to people in general. Anything they could do to help me out, I just took that to heart," Linsley said. "Anybody who let on a helping hand to me, it was just the greatest thing in the world. I figured he was the same way." and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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