SISTER BAY - Packers wide receiver Tori Gurley looked with a little bit of envy at the kids looking up admiringly at him.
"When I was a child, I wanted to be a Cub Scout," said Gurley. "Playing sports kind of got in the way."
Gurley spoke to a group of kids, many of whom were Scouts, at the Sister Bay Lions Club Youth Night on Monday. His message, in addition to listening to your elders, was simple.
"You can't control the things that go on in life: the only thing you can control is how hard you work," said Gurley. "Hopefully this message will work with someone, they take it and run with it."
Gurley's hard work may be about to pay off. Undrafted out of South Carolina, Gurley spent his rookie season on the Packers practice squad. Many fans are looking for Gurley to make an impact this season, and he hears from them all the time, including encouraging messages on Twitter.
"It shows when you work hard, people pay attention to it," said Gurley. "This year I'm going to let it all go. I'm going to go out there and ball out, hopefully once I get my opportunity, I'll take it and run with it."
Gurley had an opportunity to run from the Packers. He could've left the practice squad for another team's roster, but, after the Packers increased his salary to that of a roster player, he stuck around. That meant working outside the spotlight for a year. Soon he can cash in that experience with a chance to make the Packers roster.
"That's why I came back, to prove to the fans, prove to myself that I am a Green Bay Packer, and I look forward to having a great career here," said Gurley.
While many of the kids weren't especially familiar with Gurley's tenure with the Packers (one asked what his jersey number was), his mission to make the roster still resonated.
"He's probably still trying to keep working to get better and better so he can play more," said Sister Bay's Ethan Voeks, one of the young members of the audience.
Making the roster is the goal, but life as a professional player, whether it's getting support from fans or speaking to kids, still feels a little surreal for Gurley.
"[Being in the NFL is] still a dream," said the receiver. "I'm going to continue to work hard, I pray that I make this team and be the best player I can be."
Gurley has been back in town and working out at the Packers facility for a few weeks.
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