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Fourth Estate Facetime: Hyde feels at home

Marques eversoll Sports Editor Commentary, Sports Editor Commentary
November 7, 2013
Filed under Sports

Editor’s Note: The Fourth Estate’s Marques Eversoll sat down with Packers cornerback Micah Hyde before taking the stage for the “Jermichael Finley and M.D. Jennings Show” on WDUZ Oct. 30.

Six months ago, Packers cornerback Micah Hyde had no idea where he’d end up in April’s NFL Draft.

“I was hearing stuff from all different angles, but at the end of the day I really didn’t care,” Hyde said. “As long as I got the opportunity to get on a team somewhere, whether it was first round or free agent, I was going to try and make the best of it.”

On the third and final day of the draft, Hyde was on the golf course when he got the call from a Green Bay area code. According to Hyde, the locals at the golf course looked confused when they saw a group of college kids throwing balls into the pond and driving across the fairway in a spontaneous celebration.

But for Hyde, who grew up in Ohio and attended the University of Iowa, Green Bay seems to be the perfect fit.

“This is exactly where I want to be,” Hyde said. “I was fortunate to be picked by the Packers because this is the perfect place. The draft and all that stuff is in the past.”

Hyde was No. 159 in April’s draft, but no rookie has made a bigger impact. Last week, in the temperature-controlled  Metrodome, Hyde scored his first touchdown on a 93-yard punt return.

“It was definitely exciting,” Hyde said. “Especially because it was at Minnesota and it kind of quieted the dome a little bit.”

On his way to the end zone, however, Hyde nearly had a fail of epic proportions. Less than 10 yards shy of the goal line, Hyde slowed his stride and strutted as he approached the end zone. He stumbled and nearly faceplanted.

“I was trying to be a little too cool,” Hyde said. “Even if I would have fallen, I think I probably would have ended up in the end zone anyways. It would have been funny, though.”

The celebration was out of the ordinary for Hyde, whose versatility has been huge for the Packers.

Second-year cornerback Casey Hayward, who led the team in interceptions last season, missed the first six games of this season, making way for Hyde to help fill his shoes as the slot cornerback. And when receiver Randall Cobb went down with a broken leg in week six, the team was forced to look elsewhere for a full-time punt returner.

Again, in stepped Hyde.

This versatility has drawn early comparisons to former Packers cornerback and future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. Hyde is flattered by the comparisons but isn’t ready to put himself in the same sentence as Woodson just yet.

“The Charles Woodson comparisons get out of hand,” Hyde said. “I wish I were 1 percent as good as he is. I just try to handle my business and play hard.”

Hyde has a long way to go before he’s the NFL Defensive Player of the Year or is mentioned as a future Hall of Famer, but he’s already proven that despite his draft position, he belongs in the league and on the field.

Now that Hayward is back, the Packers have their top three cornerbacks from last season, Hayward, Sam Shields and Tramon Williams, healthy and available for the first time all year. Still, Hyde stays ready and knows another opportunity may be right around the corner.

“When one guy gets hurt, it’s the next guy’s turn to step up and make some plays,” Hyde said. “Going to practice every day with M.D. (Jennings), Mo (Morgan Burnett), T (Tramon Williams) and Sam (Shields) and all these guys that have done it for a while makes my job that much easier.”

The 22-year-old Hyde, who still drives the same Ford Ranger he drove in college, has played like a trusted veteran for the Packers. Halfway through his first season in the NFL, it’s safe to say Hyde has found a new home in Green Bay.