GREEN BAY – Andy Mulumba spent all day Saturday worrying, but at least he didn’t spend it alone. He had his little buddy Ben with him.
“All day, all day, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., I was really stressed,” the Green Bay Packers undrafted rookie free-agent outside linebacker said Monday, two days after earning a spot on the 53-man roster. “(I) tried to get my mind off of things a little bit. At the same time, I was by my phone and hoping not to get any calls.”
But while his phone wasn’t ringing, Mulumba was hanging out with Ben, the boy whose bike he rode to and from practice each day, and Ben’s family at a barbecue to celebrate Ben’s 13th birthday.
“I was riding his bike every day and I got a good relationship with him,” Mulumba said. “That was a good thing.”
A tradition unlike any other, Packers players have spent decades riding local kids’ bikes from Lambeau Field down to the practice fields and back during training camp. May forge friendships with their “bike kids,” and Mulumba was appreciative of the offer.
“(Ben) invited me to his father’s (house) to get my mind off of things,” Mulumba said. “I checked my phone a little bit and I didn’t receive any phone calls, which is always a good sign.”
Indeed, Mulumba had had a strong camp and was expected to make the team, but he also knew there were no guarantees. The Packers chose to keep him over Dezman Moses, who made the roster last year as an undrafted free agent and was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs after the Packers waived him.
Mulumba said no one from the Packers ever called him to tell him he’d made the team. When the 5 o’clock cut deadline passed and his hadn’t rung, he and Ben and Ben’s family celebrated.
“I found out by not finding out. That’s how I found out,” Mulumba said. “There was a lot of joy from both of us. We were really happy. His family was happy for me.”
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