Rethinking to sleeve or not to sleeve

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
6:00
PM ET
Ice BowlAP PhotoSunday's game at Lambeau is drawing comparisons to the Packers' 1967 "Ice Bowl" game.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Two straight days of outdoor practices and a weather forecast that keeps getting worse has some of the Green Bay Packers' toughest players considering a wardrobe change.

Although forecasts for Sunday's NFC wild-card game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field vary -- from a high of 4 degrees and a low of minus-23 by The Weather Channel to a high of 1 degree and a low of minus-21 by the National Weather Service -- everyone can agree on one thing.

“I think once it gets below zero, cold is just cold,” Packers left guard Josh Sitton said Friday.

A day after rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari said he and the rest of the offensive linemen would go sleeveless as usual, the group apparently had second thoughts on Friday.

“The weather forecast is pretty damned cold,” right guard T.J. Lang said. “Probably a game-time decision. I’ve never worn them in my life, but I don’t want to get frostbite. We’ll see what happens.”

Sitton said he wore sleeves in practice on Friday after not wearing them on Thursday and noticed a difference. Bakhtiari said he and Sitton had talked previously about wearing sleeves in cold weather, but always considered going sleeveless to be an unwritten rule of the offensive lineman brotherhood.

“I said [to Bakhtiari], if I’m wearing sleeves, then you’re wearing sleeves,” Sitton said. “I don’t want to be the only one with sleeves on. We’ll see. I mean if it’s so cold that I need sleeves, I’m putting sleeves on. I don’t really care what anybody thinks of me toughness-wise.”

One player who said he definitely would not wear long sleeves was running back Eddie Lacy. That doesn’t mean the Louisiana native likes the cold weather. He just doesn’t want to risk putting anything on his body that would hamper his ability to hold on to the football.

“I just feel like if I had sleeves, I might fumble or something like that,” Lacy said. “I’m just staying with no sleeves. I’m comfortable that way.”

In advance of what could be one of the coldest games in team history -- perhaps even rivaling the minus-13 temperature from the 1967 Ice Bowl, the Packers announced on Friday that all fans at Lambeau Field will be allowed two free hot cocoa or coffee drinks during the game. The Packers also said they will allow fans to bring in blankets and unzipped sleeping bags.

“With the forecast predicting very cold temperatures this Sunday, we’re happy to offer our fans a way to warm up while attending the game,” Packers president Mark Murphy said.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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