Al Harris, Brady Poppinga and Josh Gordy will all get the man hugs, fist bumps, high fives and smiles from their former Green Bay Packers teammates today prior to the Packers and St. Louis Rams, but after that it’s time to play ball.
Harris, the most popular of the former three Packers, will probably get the most welcomed greeting from Packers fans, but Poppinga also had several successful years with the team. Both won Super Bowl rings with the team last year.
“I spent eight years there,” Harris to the the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this week. “Had a great time. A lot of snaps. But today is today, and we’ve got to prepare like that.”
Harris gets a shot at his old team today, as will Poppinga, who is a starting linebacker for the Rams. Harris gets on the field because of devastating injuries in the Rams’ defensive backfield.
Harris was cut in the middle of last season after coming off the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. He spent some time with the Miami Dolphins, was injured again and signed on with the Rams this past spring.
“Oh, man, it’s a football game. That’s how you’ve got to treat it,” Harris said about the emotions that he might be feeling when he hits the field today. “That’s how I’ll approach it. And whatever [the Rams] need me to do to contribute, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Poppinga suffered a season-ending knee injury last Oct. 17 with the Packers, and was released by the team July 29 just before the start of training camp.
“The reality is, my time expired (in Green Bay),” Poppinga said in published reports earlier in the week. “And it had nothing to do with any hard feelings between myself and them. I can’t speak for them, but with me, I feel very happy with where I’m at; very grateful to be where I’m at. There are relationships that I’ve developed over time, but you know what? Those are put aside as I go out and I do what I’m asked to do with this [Rams] team to help this team be successful.”
It should be an interesting day …
Other game notes courtesy of The Dope Sheet prepared by The Green Bay Packers
Last meeting regular season
Sept. 27, 2009, at Edward Jones Dome; Packers won, 36-17
• QB Aaron Rodgers connected on 13-of-23 passes for 269 yards and
two TDs and added a rushing touchdown as well;
• Rodgers hooked up with WR Greg Jennings on a pair of 50-yard pass-
es (50, 53 yards) as Jennings posted a 103-yard receiving day on just
two receptions, one of only two times in his career that he recorded
100 receiving yards in a game on two catches;
• WR Donald Driver caught four passes for 95 yards and a TD;
• RB Ryan Grant led the way on the ground with 99 rushing yards on 26
carries (3.8 avg.); and
• Green Bay’s defense registered three takeaways on the afternoon,
including an interception of QB Kyle Boller, who played the final three
quarters for the Rams in place of injured QB Marc Bulger (shoulder);
THE PACKERS-RAMS SERIES
• These clubs first met in 1937, when the NFL launched its long relation-
ship with the city of Cleveland. The franchises met every year from 1937-
71 except 1943, when the Rams didn’t field a team.
Beginning in 1946, when the Rams moved from Cleveland to Los
Angeles, these foes consistently played their Wisconsin games early in
the year (before cold weather set in) and their warm West Coast games
late in the year.
• The clubs have met twice in the postseason, with the Packers topping
the Rams, 28-7, in the 1967 Western Conference Championship in
Milwaukee. The Rams beat the Packers, 45-17, in St. Louis in a 2001
Divisional Playoff contest.
• The series has been relatively even lately, with the Packers winning
five of the last nine contests. Previously, the Packers had won three
meetings in a row (1992-95).