GREEN BAY – Charlie Peprah understands; he just disagrees. And the Green Bay Packers safety thanks everyone for the motivational fuel.
For while he knows there are many, many doubters, he intends to be the Packers starting safety when the 2012 season kicks off Sept. 9 against San Francisco.
“As far as I’m concerned, I plan on it just because that’s the way I view myself and my abilities,” Peprah said Tuesday morning before boarding a bus outside Lambeau Field for the Packers’ annual Tailgate Tour.
In the wake of three-time Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins’ release last month, his potential replacement has been much-discussed. Before free agency in March, some wondered if the Packers might sign a free-agent safety. Entering the NFL Draft, some posited that the team would take a safety in the first round.
When neither happened, talk turned to whether cornerback Charles Woodson could move to safety, or whether rookie fourth-round pick Jerron McMillian, who played at Maine and not at the Division I/FBS-level, could make the jump and start on opening day.
All the while, Peprah, who is active on Twitter and one of the more self-aware players in the Packers’ locker room, listened. The way he figures it, this is nothing new, considering the team clearly had reservations about him in 2010 when then-rookie Morgan Burnett went down with a knee injury a month into the season, forcing Peprah into the lineup.
“If you forget, in 2010, after Morgan went down, they traded for Anthony Smith. To me, that said, ‘OK, maybe they don’t have any confidence in me,’” said Peprah, who has started 25 regular-season games the past two seasons in place of Burnett and Collins. “That’s the league. They’re always looking to replace you, coaches and players and staff alike. None of that stuff, you can’t let it get to you. You just keep believing in yourself, keep pushing, keep working, and the rest will take care of itself.”
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