Sitton Opens Business To Fill Competitive Void
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Just before the 2016 season, Josh Sitton was unceremoniously released by the Green Bay Packers.
The bitterness of that day was replaced by the warm feelings of returning to Green Bay and officially retiring as a member of the Packers on Friday.
“Everybody gets dumped in this league. It’s just part of it,” Sitton said.
Sitton, a three-time All-Pro during eight seasons with the Packers who helped the team win Super Bowl XLV, was joined by his wife and former teammates David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga and Aaron Rodgers.
“We won a lot of games, and a lot of those memories are due to you and your abilities,” Sitton said of Rodgers. “Life’s about memories and we made a lot of good memories together. Obviously, the best was winning that Super Bowl together. Hopefully, y’all can go do it again this year.”
Sitton, a fourth-round pick by the Packers in 2008 out of Central Florida, thanked general managers past and present, Ted Thompson and Brian Gutekunst, along with former offensive line coach James Campen, former coach Mike McCarthy and many others. He also thanked John Dorsey, now the general manager of the Browns but Green Bay’s director of college scouting at the time.
“I remember he called me and he said, ‘Look’ – I didn’t know John from anybody; it was just a random phone call – he said, ‘You’re not going to the Senior Bowl, you’re not making the Combine.’ I’m sitting there holding out, waiting to go to the Senior Bowl and the Combine. He said, ‘Your fat ass needs to go to the Hawaii Bowl so all the scouts can see you.’ I’m like, ‘This guy’s an ass hole.’”
But Sitton listened. He went to the Hula Bowl and landed with the Packers, due in part to the influence of the team’s Southeast scout.
“He was one of the better offensive linemen I’ve ever scouted,” Gutekunst said. “I get a little emotional about this because this is really one of the players that put me on the map. Really fought for Josh in the draft room, and Ted Thompson and James Campen were equally impressed. I think it was about the third rep of his Packer career that we knew we had a good one and was going to be a good one for a long time.”
Sitton wasn’t quite so sure. To his recollection, he struggled throughout the spring practices against the team’s other rookies and wondered if he belonged.
“I’m like, ‘Holy crap, I’m not going to make it in the league.’”
Then, the team put on the pads to start training camp and he won his first rep of one-on-ones against one of the team’s veteran starters – perhaps Cullen Jenkins.
“And I did it again and again and again and again and again that practice. I was like, ‘Holy, crap, I think I can actually do this. I think I’m going to be around for a while.’”
Gutekunst shared the same memory of certainty.
“I think I was standing next to Ted Thompson and Alonzo Highsmith,” Gutekunst said. “I don’t remember the defensive lineman but he came with everything he had and he stoned him, and he tried to shake him off but Josh had his mitts on him and it was over. I’m like, ‘We’re good there. Let’s move onto something else.’”
Sitton started 25 games during the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Bears. He signed with the Dolphins for 2018 but suffered a torn rotator cuff in the opener, an injury that ultimately ended his career.
Athletes are renowned for their competitive streak. Sitton’s filled his a couple ways, including starting Bear General Contractors in Pensacola, Fla.
“I try to be the best father I can be – the best father and husband. I don’t think I’d get any argument; I probably Dad of the Year in most circles,” Sitton said. “I’ve got a construction company, a real estate company, development company that I’m a part of. I get to go have wins like that. Actually, I had a really big win yesterday on a development. It was a really great day. Like you said, we’re very competitive and you’re trying to be the best and trying to win. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing fantasy football or real football or doing whatever I’m doing with my business, I’m trying to win and always trying to be competitive.”