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Nashville Native Makes NFL Debut

Starting at Right Guard for the Green Bay Packers, number 70, Royce Newman. It was not too long ago that Nashville fans were watching the 6’6 big man suit up in the traditional red, blue, and white colors as a Hornet. Five years later, the colors are green and yellow. 

“It feels like just yesterday we were up at New Berlin in the playoffs,” said Dale Newman, father of the rookie offensive lineman. “It’s been pretty surreal.” 

Newman was drafted in the 4th round (142nd overall) in the 2021 NFL draft following five years at The University of Mississippi. After redshirting in 2016, Newman went on to play in 21 games off the bench 2017 and 2018 before eventually getting the starting nod in 2019 and 2020, where he played another 22 games. His versatility is a trait which sets him apart from most, as he saw snaps at left guard, right tackle and right guard throughout his tenure as a Rebel. In two years as a starter, he surrendered only three sacks. Going back to high school, Royce played tight end, offensive tackle, and defensive end. Following his senior season at Ole Miss, he was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama where he had a chance to showcase his skills amongst the best college football players in the country. Although he resides in Green Bay now, his father explained there was not as much communication with the Packers as there were with other teams leading up to his son’s selection. 

“He had some teams calling him telling him that if he was there they were going to take him,” he said. “He couldn’t have landed in a better spot though.”

After an impressive training camp, Newman was named starter in the team’s second preseason game against the New York Jets. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall grade of 91.8, which was first among rookie offensive lineman for the preseason. He allowed zero pressures on 42 pass-blocking snaps. The strong preseason was enough for Royce to earn the starting right guard position in the season opener against New Orleans. 

“Being at the game, seeing him out there, I felt like I was watching him in college. I don’t think it’s settled in yet,” said Kim Newman, his mother. 

Sporting the #70 jersey worn by her son, she was approached by fans at the game wondering where she was able to find the rookie’s merchandise. 

“They were like, you must be his family because we can’t find his jersey anywhere,” said Kim with a laugh. “They said you must be so proud. He seems so great and down to earth.” 

Going into his first career start, Kim got a text from her son that morning telling her he was not nervous, but really excited. Although the Packers were defeated 38-3, Kim described her son’s mindset as “week to week.” 

“He’s always been like that, one game happens and he moves onto the next one. He owns up to his mistakes.” said Kim. “He’s always competing,” added Dale. 

Kim also noted Royce spends a lot of time talking with the veteran players on the team, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and offensive tackle David Bakhtiari. 

“He talks to veterans a lot about different things he can improve on,” she said. “He’s very humble, he doesn’t think he’s all that, which is a big reason why he is where he is.” 

Dale also credited Royce’s former coaches and the community of Nashville for being part of his son’s success. 

“It’s not a certain thing, it’s a community effort,” he said. “I always tell everyone to go up there and see a game if they have a chance, he loves to see everyone. I know we’re happy for him down here, but I know he’s excited to go out there and perform in front of us.” 

Royce and the Packers will look to bounce back this Monday against the Detroit Lions at 7:15 on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

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