GREEN BAY — Eddie Lacy doesn’t know whether he’ll do a Lambeau Leap if he scores a touchdown on Sunday or not. The Green Bay Packers-turned-Seattle Seahawks running back isn’t quite sure how he’ll be received if he decides to jump into the stands wearing enemy colors.
“You know, honestly, I’ve been thinking about that for the past two days,” Lacy said Thursday. “Part of me wants to, but I don’t want to get pushed down. I really don’t know how the crowd will react to that. Maybe I could find like a small patch of Seahawks fans and do it there.”
One thing’s for sure: Lacy, who played four seasons with the Packers before leaving for a one-year deal with the Seahawks this offseason, will be greeted with open arms by his former teammates — some of whom believe Lacy was mistreated and underappreciated as his weight became a matter of public debate following coach Mike McCarthy’s criticism following the 2015 season.
“When he was here, everybody loved him. Everybody was so high on Eddie, everybody loved No. 27,” said Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Lacy’s college teammate at Alabama. “The minute he gained a little weight, or you guys thought he couldn’t move the way he wanted to move, everyone wanted to kick him down and throw rocks at him.”
Said quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “Eddie is a great teammate. He’s a lot of fun to be around. He always has that infectious smile. He’s a tough dude. All those Alabama guys (are) tough dudes who know how to play the game, play it the right way. And Eddie was one of them. So it will be fun to line up against him. (I’m glad) I won’t be lining up against him, but Eddie is one of those guys you always enjoy being around. I hope he’s enjoying it up there.”
While Lacy did struggle with his weight in 2015, he came back last season in better cardiovascular shape, even if he hadn’t dropped as many pounds as some expected. He was off to a terrific start, averaging 5.1 yards per carry (71 rushes, 360 yards) in the first five games before an ankle injury that required surgery ended his season.
The Packers tried to re-sign Lacy in March, but he opted for Seattle’s offer instead and the fresh start that came with it.
“I thought I would be back there. I was there for four years, I just thought it would continue,” Lacy said. “But sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. And sometimes a change of scenery isn’t bad.”
Asked if McCarthy’s criticism and fans’ jokes about his weight bothered Lacy, Clinton-Dix replied, “We’re all human beings, but he still has blood in his veins. You don’t want people talking bad about you and saying what you can and can’t do. ‘Oh, Eddie’s overweight and big now.’ But he’s still giving you five, six, seven, eight yards a pop.
“I feel like on the flip side of that, imagine how much more powerful he could be if he was at a certain weight limit. That’s how I think they should’ve went about it. Not saying, ‘He’s too big …’ or whatever the case was. I think it did bother him a lot. It did bother him. For sure.”
Starting running back Ty Montgomery, a converted wide receiver who took over during the second half of last season after injuries to Lacy and backup James Starks, said he thought the two were going to form a formidable 1-2 punch this season and said Lacy was a huge help to him as he played his new position in the midst of a playoff push.
“I think we just really connected and bonded. He helped me in the sense of mentally, not feeling overwhelmed, being comfortable, being myself, not trying to think too much or be too technical. I got a lot of that from him,” Montgomery said. “Obviously, I think Eddie’s a great back and I like him a lot. I was telling the guys earlier, obviously this game I want our defense to dominate, but other than that, I want nothing but the best for him. I hope he tears it up.”
In Seattle, Lacy is part of a running back rotation that includes Thomas Rawls, who is dealing with an ankle injury, C.J. Prosise and Chris Carson. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had nothing but praise for Lacy during a conference call with Wisconsin reporters earlier this week, saying, “He’s been beautifully on point and has done everything we asked of him. I don’t know what he needed but I’m glad he came to us, and we’ve had a really good lead-in to the season.”
‘We got a steal’
Clinton-Dix will admit to being biased — he came to the University of Alabama as part of the same recruiting class as Quinton Dial — but Clinton-Dix believed the Packers got “a steal” when they signed the ex-San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle this week.
“I’ve been trying to recruit him here. I told him about the good things here in Green Bay — the atmosphere here, the coaching staff, the practices. I pretty much gave him a rundown of how Green Bay is and told him the honest truth,” Clinton-Dix said. “We got a steal. I’m telling you, y’all are going to love him.”
Dial, who visited the Packers earlier in the week before heading back to the Bay Area to decide his next move, arrived in town late Wednesday night, then practiced with the team for the first time Thursday. How much he can do Sunday against the Seahawks is unclear.
“It was crazy,” Dial said of his whirlwind few days. “I got the news on Saturday they were going to release me out in San Francisco and my agent told me Green Bay called that same day, trying to get me out (there). I was like, ‘You know, let’s do it.’ They said, ‘We want to bring me out for a visit in a couple days.’ So I came out on a visit and fell in love with the place. I felt like it was the best fit for me.”
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) did some pre-practice work with the offense inside the Don Hutson Center but was not doing full team drills outside on Clark Hinkle Field during the part of practice open to reporters Thursday. For the second straight day, he was listed as limited.
Cornerbacks Davon House (hamstring) and Kevin King (groin) did more work in practice Thursday than they had Wednesday and were upgraded to full participation. Outside linebackers Nick Perry (ankle) and Clay Matthews (groin) practiced in full for the second straight day and are ready to go.