Jace Sternberger returns to Lambeau Field with Washington hoping for another chance
By Jace Sternberger
“Go show them who you are.”
That’s what my dad always tells my brothers and me. When I was drafted by the Packers in 2019, I had my chance in the NFL to show the league and myself I could play. Before I ever stepped on the field, I heard from some passionate Packers fans —mostly 13-year-olds and Karens— about how unfit I was to wear No. 87. I’d never be Jordy Nelson.
So I set out to show them who I was. Not in a petty way; I wanted to prove it for me too.
When the Packers drafted me, it never occurred to me that by my third season, I’d be back at Lambeau Field wearing a different color jersey. When I got the call this summer that the team was moving on, teammates reached out to show their support. Green Bay is a great organization with a terrific culture but I had a feeling a separation was coming.
It would mean a new chance to show who I am.
The Seahawks called right away and within 48 hours of my release, I was set to take a plane to Seattle. When a team brings you in like that, they book you a hotel room to get settled while you look for a house, usually for about two weeks. NFL life isn’t always glamorous. Most of it is work, recovery, studying, lifting and training. It’s Hilton Garden Inns and Chipotle takeout. When I got the call from my agent that Washington wanted to sign me off the practice squad, I still had several days left on that tab.
I just got to Seattle, a place I was excited to be because they wanted me, and already had to leave. Washington wanted me too.
We’d had walkthroughs that day, I got the call late afternoon and by 11 pm that night I was on a plane headed to D.C. Because it was so last minute, there wasn’t even a direct flight for me to take so I didn’t get into town until 9 am the next morning.
As I looked at the WFT schedule, I noticed it right away: “Oct. 24th @ Packers.” It will be weird going back to Green Bay and staying in a hotel. I’ve done nothing but live out of hotels while my pregnant girlfriend waits for me to find both a literal and metaphoric home. I’d get a chance to stop by my old place to make sure everything is working, but have to change in the visitors’ locker room.
It’s one of many reminders of my past, of where I started this journey.