Photo Cred: Green Bay Packers Matt Becker
By Mark Eckel, Player Engagement Insider
Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley wasn’t sure when, or even if, he was going to get drafted. So, when that call came on the third day of the 2014 NFL Draft from the Packers, it was a dream come true for the Ohio native and former Ohio State star. It was also short lived.
“It was a great day, getting the call, you’re going to be in the NFL,’’ Linsley said. “But then you have to go to work. The last thing I wanted was to be a guy who gets drafted and then fades away.’’
Linsley has done just the opposite. Despite being a third-day pick, a fifth-round selection of the Packers, the 31st offensive linemen selected, and the sixth center selected, the 6-3, 301-pound center has made Green Bay, and general manager Ted Thompson, look good.
“I’ve been fortunate,’’ he said. “I got some breaks and things have gone my way. It doesn’t really matter where you’re drafted. The guys say that all the time. The only difference is the first and second round guys have a little more money in their pocket.’’
Linsley came to training camp in 2014 and became the Packers’ starting center after J.C. Tretter, selected a year earlier, suffered a knee injury during a minicamp.
In 2014, Linsley became the first Packers rookie center to start the season opener in the Super Bowl era. He also became the first Packers center to start every game as a rookie since the league expanded the schedule to 16 games in 1978.
Now, going into his fourth season Linsley isn’t just the Packers’ center, he’s emerged as one of the best centers in the league.
And just three years ago he wasn’t even sure he was going to make it.
“I really didn’t know where or when or who was going to draft me,’’ he said. “I figured it would be late, if at all. Then waiting around and getting to that third day. It got a little nerve-wracking for sure.’’
Linsley watched the Draft at his girlfriend, now wife, Anna’s place in Columbus, not far from where he was part of a Buckeyes team that won 24 consecutive games in college. It was him, Anna and a couple of friends.
“It wasn’t exactly a party,’’ he said with a laugh. “We were just watching the draft. I was actually going back and forth between the draft and (the television show) “24.’’ I never watched “24’’ before that and I haven’t watched it since.’’
Then the call came from the Packers.
“I noticed some centers coming off the board,’’ Linsley said. “That was a little nerve-wracking too.’’
The New York Giants took Weston Richburg, out of Colorado State, in the second round. The San Francisco 49ers took Marcus Martin, out of USC, in the third round and the Detroit Lions took Travis Swanson, out of Arkansas a few picks later.
New England took Bryan Stork, out of Florida State, and the Cincinnati Bengals took Russell Bodine, out of North Carolina in the fourth round.
Finally, it was Linsley’s turn.
“I never used (getting picked lower than others) as motivation or anything like that,’’ he said. “That’s not how I am. I was just happy that I got drafted.’’
After three years and 38 starts at center, so are the Green Bay Packers