Jarius Wynn goes from cut list to Super Bowl
February 4, 2011
By beating three of the NFL's premier teams on the road in the playoffs, the Packers proved that they deserved to represent the conference in Sunday's Super Bowl. It is a confident squad that plays with a decided swagger befitting the hottest club in all of football.
But after a 3-3 start, how many Green Bay players truly felt in mid October that they would be strapping on the gear in Dallas in February? There is a certain "kid in a candy store" feeling among this bunch. Their sense of purpose, defeating the Steelers, is unwavering, but their sense of wonder is also apparent.
A great example of that is defensive end Jarius Wynn, who couldn't stop smiling when I interviewed him this week. Wynn took it all in, glancing around the vast expanse of Cowboys Stadium Tuesday on media day.
"I'm just blessed to be in this position," Wynn said.
Wynn was one of the team's final cuts in September. He was back home in Georgia with his television tuned to the Packers first game of the season in Philadelphia.
"You know I couldn't even look at the game while it was going on because it felt like family here," Wynn recalled. "It kinda hurt me that I got cut."
But defensive end Justin Harrell, who had beat out Wynn for a final roster spot, was hurt early in the Eagles contest. Wynn's phone rang at halftime. His agent was on the other end.
"He called me and told me I was headed back," said Wynn who found himself on a plane to Green Bay the following morning.
Wynn said it felt strange to be back at first, but he was determined to make the most of his second chance. He has happily accepted critiques from his coaches and teammates.
"Ryan Pickett he always talks to me telling me what I need to do to get better. Him and Cullen Jenkins. They really treat me like they're my big brothers. They just show me the way, and I follow and try to progress."
"Dom Capers always has a great game plan going in to different players. It's all about making plays and my coach Trgo (defensive line coach Mike Trgovac) he's a great coach. He's always telling me what I need to do, what I'm doing wrong. It's been a fun ride so far."
Wynn had 1.5 sacks during the season but his one full sack came late in Green Bay's win over Minnesota in October at Lambeau Field, as he brought down Brett Favre with the game on the line.
And spending a second season with the Packers, Wynn has a better understanding of why he was cut and what it takes to stay on the roster. "It kinda hurt me at first, but now I know it's all about business."
Wynn had to scramble to get 15 tickets for friends and family when the Packers played in Atlanta in the NFC semifinals. His dad wore a Green Bay jersey and took a lot of heat from a lot of people he knew who were Falcons fans.
"They really gave him grief, talking bad about him, take his jersey off, but at the end of the day we won."
Wynn says he will "work his tail off" to get a sack in the Super Bowl. But stopping Ben Roethlisberger is not his only concern this week. His wife Martavia is due any day to deliver the couple's son. Her official due date is just ten days after the Super Bowl but she is planning to attend Sunday's game.
"Hopefully she'll get here, but you never know. We're going day by day."
Wynn hopes he won't get a call on the sidelines saying that Martavia has gone into labor.
"I hope we can hold off, I hope we can be okay until the time I come home."
Jarius Wynn, an unemployed defensive end in September, now a member of one of the only two teams still playing five months later.
"I never had doubts," Wynn said. "I'm a highly spiritual guy, I believe that if I worked hard, something was going to come through."
And now Wynn has a chance to get a Super Bowl ring and experience the birth of a son in the same month.
"I'm really just speechless. I'm just enjoying the whole moment."