GREEN BAY, Wis. — David Bakhtiari marched into the Green Bay Packers training camp practice on Saturday like Brock Lesnar entered the ring — with a WWE-style championship belt over his right shoulder.
When the two-hour, 39-minute practice — the first of camp in full pads — was over, the Pro Bowl left tackle had defended his title.
Or so he claimed.
The results might be subjective, but this is how NFL players amuse themselves during the monotony of camp. To guys like Bakhtiari and defensive tackle Mike Daniels, this isn’t contrived. It’s what can help lift the Packers from a team that’s a regular in the playoffs to one that’s back in the Super Bowl for the first time in seven years.
It’s also part of a budding practice-field rivalry between two of the Packers’ young stars. For a couple of years, Daniels has talked about ramping up the intensity level on the team, and Bakhtiari was happy to oblige.
“What he’s trying to do — and I love it — is that he’s trying to get the best out of everybody,” Daniels said. “He’s had a lot of success, he’s a Pro Bowler, an All-Pro and now he wants everyone else to come up to that level, too, and he knows the best way to get that out of people is by demanding great competition. He wants that free-agent rookie to come at him the same way Clay [Matthews] and Nick Perry would. That’s going to make him better and it’s going to make them better, and I love it.”
The belt goes to the side of the ball that wins the daily run-blocking…
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