Cole Schneider felt relieved when his phone rang.
Following the conclusion of the NFL Draft in April, the former UCF offensive lineman signed with the Green Bay Packers as a draft free agent.
“I was back home with my family so I was surrounded by people who love me,” Schneider told the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s great to see the fruits of my hard work ending together.
“To see my parents’ faces when I told them I got the call was wonderful.”
Fast forward to this week, Schneider is packing his bags to report with the rest of Green Bay’s rookie class for training camp beginning Friday in Wisconsin.
Schneider said he’s more excited than nervous about entering his first NFL training camp. He knows that building a 53-man roster will not be easy.
“I’m leaving without any hope,” he said. “I’ll have a chip on my shoulder when I walk into the building and work for whatever I can every day.”
To prepare for camp, Schneider is working in a familiar location: UCF football facilities. He is grateful for training at his old stomping ground.
“UCF has done a lot for me,” he said. “It’s hard to leave. It’s a second home for me.”
He has trained under the watchful eye of Burt Whigham, who works closely with Buffalo Bills wide receiver and UCF product Gabriel Davis. This week he worked with former UCF running back Latvius Murray, now an NFL free agent, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
“My body feels great,” said the 6-foot-3, 309-pound lineman. “It feels better in a long time. I’m really happy with it.
“It’s so exciting to know how my body feels when I go to training camp, be able to prove myself, see where I stand with everyone else and make a statement.”
Schneider has taken advantage of working with current NFL players such as Watkins, entering the league in Year 10. The two will be teammates at Green Bay.
“He’s a very knowledgeable person,” Schneider said. “There’s that character about him where if you follow him, he’s going to lead you in the right direction. I look forward to working with him more.”
Schneider is aware of the history at Green Bay of UCF offensive linemen. Josh Sitton, who was at the UCF from 2004–07, became a key member of the organization from 2008–15, winning one Super Bowl during the 2010 season.
Former UCF offensive lineman Justin McCray, who spent two years at Green Bay and is now in Houston, messaged Schneider after signing with the Packers.
“He said, ‘If you ever need anything let me know.’ It’s nice to have that support,” said Schneider. “Just being able to follow in the footsteps of great people and great players, I’m excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a name for myself in Green Bay as well.”
Schneider, of course, is focused on building the first roster.
“It’s stuff I’ve dreamed about my whole life and it’s right here in front of me,” he said. “I want to have fun with it but at the same time, I want to make it my job.”
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