Cardinals linebacker Paris Lenon, back in his Packers' days in 2005, rides a bike during training camp.
Paris Lenon walked out of the Lambeau Field locker room on the first day of training camp with the Green Bay Packers in 2002 and didn't have a bike to ride.
The tradition of Packers' players riding kids' bikes across Packer Drive to the practice fields was starting another year, but Lenon, in his first camp with the team, was left looking around. He eventually found a bike to ride for the first few practices until a 10-year-old girl named Melissa asked if Lenon wanted to ride her bike.
So, on her bike he went and pedaled his way to practice.
The next day, Melissa asked him to ride her bike again, and during the rest of training camp Melissa and Paris became quick friends. The friendship continued as Lenon rode Melissa's bike for the next three years. And nothing was going to stop Melissa from making sure the linebacker was on her ride. After Lenon requested Melissa get a bigger bike – which she did – Melissa missed the first week of training camp in 2003 because she was at band camp, forcing Lenon to find a new set of wheels.
When she returned, Melissa sought out Lenon after one morning practice. By time that afternoon's practice ended, Lenon was approached by a different little girl who said she couldn't let him use her bike anymore. Melissa had made sure Lenon would ride her bike.
That was Lenon's introduction to Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field.
"Green Bay is a small town," said guard Daryn Colledge, who played for the Packers from 2006-10. "And it's all about football. Those guys live and breathe that year-round. When you have a small town like that, all you've got is football."
Widely considered the mecca of football, the stadium can be a spiritual awakening for some fans, and even some players. In a city where football is everything, Lambeau is the church where everyone congregates on Sundays.
"It's got a lot of tradition," Lenon said. "I think that's the number one thing, is just that there's so much history and playing there you get to meet a lot of the greats."
When the Cardinals played there last preseason, linebacker Daryl Washington didn't have a chance to fully appreciate the grounds he was playing on. It was the first chance he had to hit someone other than a teammate during training camp.
This year will be different.
"You kind of get more and more anxious to play in a stadium like that knowing it has all that history," Washington said. "That's what I would take out of it. I'm looking forward to going up there."
The first time Kerry Rhodes played in Lambeau, in 2006, he was in awe of the place. And it didn't hurt that he intercepted former Packers quarterback Brett Favre that game. Yet no matter how life changing the experience can be, after a while it's just another stadium on the schedule.
"It's a mystical place when you are a young guy in the league," the safety said. "But when you get older, it's just another place."
EASING BACK INTO IT
Less than 48 hours after playing on "Monday Night Football," the Cardinals were back on the practice Wednesday field installing their game plan for Sunday's match up against Green Bay.
With a short week ahead of them, however, the Cardinals opted to go lighter than usual for a Wednesday.
"Guys are pretty sore," Whisenhunt said. "We're trying to get some guys back. We did more walk-through today than we normally do in order to try to compensate for that."
The Cardinals didn't wear pads or helmets with the hope to accelerate their recovery.
While resting their bodies was the Cards' primary concern, they were still able to focus on preparing for a team that's second in the league in red zone percentage.
"Mentally, everything I think has been preparing well," Skelton said. "We haven't really been beat down mentally with mistakes. A lot of it is more physical stuff, so coming out here in hats is beneficial for us."
Quarterback Kevin Kolb did not practice Wednesday as he recovers from a rib injury. The only other Card not to practice was guard Adam Snyder (quad).
TE Todd Heap (knee), LS Mike Leach (back), S Kerry Rhodes (back) and CB Greg Toler (hamstring) were limited.
T D'Anthony Batiste (toe), DT Darnell Dockett (hamstring), TE Jim Dray (TE), CB Jamell Fleming (back) and FB Anthony Sherman (knee) all practiced at full strength.
For the Packers, four starters listed on the depth chart didn't practice Wednesday, including WR Jordy Nelson, FB John Kuhn (hamstring), LB Nick Perry (knee/wrist), CB Sam Shields (ankle).
Fellow starters G T.J. Lang (elbow/wrist), TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder) and NT B.J. Raji (ankle) were limited.