December 16, 2011
The Minnesota Vikings wanted to add a player to their shallow receiving corps for the meaningless stretch run of their 2011 season. They reached out to Tori Gurley of the Green Bay Packers practice squad, and gave him the opportunity to play in real NFL games and earn real NFL paychecks.
Gurley's response: Nah, I'm good.
He'd rather practice with the Packers than play with the Vikings. Via PackersNews.com, Gurley explained his decision:
"If you look statistically, their season is going to be over in three weeks," Gurley said of the Vikings. "We're already locked to have a playoff spot." [...]
"I'm learning from some of the best receivers in the game right now," Gurley said. "The way our offense is clicking, the grass isn't going to be greener on the other side. So just learning and taking it one day at a time, my opportunity is going to come."
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No one else is in Tori Gurley's shoes, so no one's in a position to make a better call than he is. If he feels comfortable in Green Bay and he feels like he'll eventually get a chance there, then why wouldn't he stay?
He can go catch passes from Christian Ponder right now, or roll the dice on one day catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. And in the meantime, he gets to enjoy the Green Bay coaching staff, and be around Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and everyone else.
And if he's interested in winning championships, well, Green Bay may be better poised for the future. Just maybe. Also consider that with Jennings' current knee injury, Gurley is one step closer to catching passes from Rodgers in an actual game. That makes the decision even easier to understand.
But just so you know the extent of his dedication to the Packers, consider this: According to Brian McIntyre of Mac's Football Blog, the usual salary for a practice squad player is $5,700 per week. Some players, like Packers quarterback Graham Harrell, do get more ($12,500 per week), but that's far above the average.
If the Vikings signed Gurley for even one day, he'd be guaranteed the equivalent of three game checks. And taking the league minimum of $375,000 into account, dividing that figure by 17 weeks, and multiplying by 3, Gurley would have made at least $66,176 the second he put his name on the dotted line.
Gurley's not guaranteed a spot in Green Bay next year, even on the practice squad. But then again, he wouldn't be guaranteed anything in Minnesota next year, either. He likes the situation he's in, and he's betting on himself. If it pays off, he'll be in a great position, and if it doesn't, well, it's not like he passed on some amazing opportunity in turning down the 2011 Minnesota Vikings.
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