Legendary Lambeau Field Offers Eagles' Rookies Special 1st Taste of NFL

As the first half turns into the second Thursday night in Green Bay, undrafted quarterback Dane Evans from Tulsa will start getting ready to enter his first NFL game. 

In the same stadium where one of his idols made a career. 

When most think about Lambeau Field, it's impossible to not start thinking about Vince Lombardi and all the history that comes along with it. Evans, 23, thinks back to his childhood. 

"I'm really excited about it," he said. "Obviously, getting to play at all. And then you add the fact that we're playing Green Bay in Lambeau, growing up a (Brett) Favre fan, it's really cool. I'm just excited about it. Talking to all the coaches and guys that have been around, they say it's one of the best places to play. So no better way to start off a career."

While Evans grew up in Texas and went to Sanger High School, not too far from Dallas, he just gravitated toward Favre. 

"Just watching him and how he played, it's hard to watch him and not root for him," he said. "He plays like a little kid out there all the time. His love for the game, just watching it, would get you excited. Just to play and throw the ball around where he built a career and did it for so long is really cool."

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Evans said he's spent some time visualizing the first time he runs onto an NFL field and the first time he enters the game, he's trying to not think about it too much. He just wants to enjoy it as much as he can. 

For Evans and plenty of his Eagles teammates, Thursday night will offer their first taste of the NFL. And they'll get to play their first games in the league's most revered stadium. 

"I'm stoked, man," sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls said. "Even though it's just a preseason game, I get to play in my first NFL game. It's not something that you can really prepare for. You've been dreaming about this and visualizing this and thinking about this for so long, it's not something you can bring to reality until it is reality, until that day."

While some players are allowing themselves to start enjoying the special moment, others are trying as much as they can to treat Thursday night like they would any other game. 

First-round pick Derek Barnett, as even-keel as they come, said he's looking forward to Thursday night simply because "it's a chance to play a game." 

Just like any other game. At least that's how he wants to treat it. 

"I don't think it's going to be hard to [treat it like any other game]," he said. "Go in and make sure my technique's good and just play hard. If my technique's sound and I'm playing hard on every snap, everything else is going to fall into place."

If nothing else, Barnett is looking forward to facing some other competition. During the last two weeks, he's battled against the Eagles' offensive linemen, who he says have picked up on his moves. It'll be nice to try them on someone else.  

While Thursday night will be the first NFL game for many Eagles rookies, it'll also be the first time ever attending one for a couple. Receivers Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson said they have never even been to an NFL game, although they've played in NFL stadiums while in college. 

"Yeah, I thought about it but it still hasn't hit me, actually playing in an NFL game," undrafted receiver Greg Ward said. "I think it's just going to hit me whenever that time comes."

That time is almost here. 

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