GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Following in your parent's footsteps can be a blessing and a curse. Bay Port Pirates ILB Jayden Montgomery says his relationship with dad Jerry is a blessing, built on a lot of love and hard work.
"I have a great game and he could pick out one play that I did bad during the game and he could coach me up on it and say 'hey, do this better next time,' and I'm like ok," Jayden said.
His dad Jerry is the defensive line coach for the Green Bay Packers. Balancing both roles can add pressure, but also passion to the shared sport.
"He's always pushed me to be the best I can be," Jayden said. "Obviously it was always for fun but it was also asking what I can do with this, how can I get better?"
Before joining the Packers, Jerry coached for 11 years at the collegiate level — more than half of Jayden's life so far. With fond memories of kicking field goals after practice and hanging with players in the ice bath, both father and son say that lifestyle helped Jayden stay focused as the pandemic interrupted his junior season and recruiting plans.
"He [Jerry] just continued to say 'hey, you can sit and do nothing or work until you get your chance,'" Jayden said.
"We moved a lot in college," Jerry said. "Every two years for a while there. He always saw the work ethic and amount of hours we put in at our job and I think he understands that. I think regardless of what took place, whether we were going to play or not going to play, he knew that he had to continue to keep working."
To date, Jayden has received five offers from five NCAA Division I programs before finishing his junior season, which was moved to spring due to coronavirus. As proud as Jerry is of his son, he hopes that Jayden will reflect on his childhood close to the game and use the sport as a vehicle to achieve more. Jayden has already spent a summer interning with the Packers.
"I wouldn't be where I'm at today without the game. Don't think I would have graduated high school without football. Don't think I would have gotten into college had it not been for football," Jerry said. "Football is going to open up doors for you, but you have to be prepared beyond athletics to be successful in life, and I think he's taken that approach and ran with it."