Jon Runyan Jr.’s fingers were a bit too fast for the Green Bay Packers in their first official interaction.
The University of Michigan guard was the sixth-round pick for the Packers, but he accidentally declined the team’s call when they phoned Runyan to inform him of his selection and welcome him to the team. As ESPN reported, Runyan said he was texting with his agent when his phone received a call from Green Bay, Wisconsin. But Runyan said he was texting a bit too quickly and accidentally clicked decline.
“I tried to call back and my call didn’t go through, and I had no idea what I just did,” Runyan said.
Luckily for Runyan, the call was something of a formality and the team’s pick had already been turned in to the NFL. The Packers did call him back a few seconds later, and all appears to be well with the two-time All Big 10 offensive lineman.
Runyan now joins the team that his father once helped defeat in an iconic game. Jon Sr. was an NFL tackle for 14 years, playing for the Philadelphia Eagles and helping the team win a 2003 divisional game against the Packers that included a converted 4th-and-26 to help win the game.
As the younger Runyan told ESPN, he grew up around NFL locker rooms and players like Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook, and Donovan McNabb, which helped him to develop a deep love for the game. The experience of being in the locker room also helped him keep focused on his goal of making the NFL one day himself.
“Those guys really changed the Eagles franchise and made it into what it is now. Just idolizing them and seeing how much work I put in kind of through the viewpoint that I got, being around them and looking up to them and my father and one day wanting to be them, that helped add motivation and passion and drive to what I was doing,” he said.
Runyan was part of an offense-heavy draft for the Packers. Six of the team’s nine picks were on the offensive side of the ball, including fellow offensive linemen Jake Hanson of Oregon and Simon Stepaniak of Indiana. The Packers also chose Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with their first-round pick, indicating that the team may be developing a succession plan for the 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers — and that Runyan could play a big role in protecting both the current franchise quarterback and the potential quarterback of the future.