Late last year, an otherwise lost and dismal Packers season got a little bit brighter with the news that Green Bay had acquired a free agent lineman. Though Gerhard de Beer was technically just a practice squad signing and not a member of the official roster, that didn’t prevent the South African-born offensive tackle with a distinctly Wisconsin name from catching on as a fan favorite. In January, fans were finally able to purchase jerseys emblazoned with the “de Beer” surname and the O-lineman’s number 72. As you might expect, they sold fast.
Despite being re-signed and invited to training camp this summer, de Beer was eventually released by the Packers during the preseason. We here at Milwaukee Record were rooting for the 6-foot-6 University Of Arizona track and football standout to make the team…and not just because his name is great and we were seriously thinking about adding a de Beer jersey to our NFL Shop cart if he cracked the 53-man roster. But alas, it wasn’t meant to happen right now.
Even though his stint Green Bay was brief, Gerhard seems to be thankful for the opportunity and he has only nice things to say about Packers fans. How do we know? Well, last week, while browsing the abundance of current and former Packers players who do “personalized shoutouts” on Cameo, we noticed de Beer was available for booking. Of course, we wanted to ask him about his time in Green Bay and if he has any sentiments he’d like to share with Packer Backers. One $10 transaction and a few days later, we received the following message from de Beer:
“The fan base is unmatched,” de Beer says in the roughly 100-second video. “I’ve never seen anything like it worldwide, you know?”
While he admits he’s sad the Packers parted ways with him, he says he has nothing but kind words for the organization. Thankfully, he hasn’t given up on his NFL dreams, saying he’s working really hard, staying in shape, and he’s ready to go whenever anybody calls. Who knows, maybe Green Bay will bring de Beer back at some point. It could happen! Even if that doesn’t come to be, thanks for the video and for inspiring so many Wisconsinites to buy your jersey, Gerhard. Best of luck with your next team (unless it’s the Bears, Vikings, or Patriots) or with whatever comes next.