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NFC Championship game a homecoming for Packers return man Tyler ErvinSubmitted: 01/18/2020
SAN JOSE -
Tyler Ervin's journey to Green Bay is a little like a kick return: full speed ahead, obstacles flying in your face, and no one path to success.

"I think every guy has his unique individual path and mine was one where you just had to work hard," Ervin said.

Ervin played his college ball with the San Jose State Spartans, where he fought injuries all throughout the early part of his career.

"He didn't have a lot of muscle mass on him at that time and he's developed that since then," special teams coach Fred Guidici said. "So that's where he struggled early on and that's why he had some nagging injuries early on."


That didn't make a difference to Ervin, who ran for 1600 yards his senior season and now has his picture on the wall of the athletic building, right next to former Packer James Jones.

"He took care of his body like a pro," strength coach Gary Uribe said. "He became an extra guy after the lift, getting extra. He became a more guy, meaning he would come in on his days off."

Despite all that work, he found himself a free agent in late November this season, until the Packers came calling.

"I was super excited," Ervin said. "Its always been one of my dreams to play at Lambeau."

Things worked out for the Packers too.

The man they call Swervin' Ervin took over a historically poor kick and punt return game and helped turn it around, even giving his former coach some tips.

"He's helped me out with some special teams stuff too, so I pick his brain to say what are they doing in the big league?," Giudici said.

Now Ervin returns to his old stomping grounds, where he can help take the Packers all the way back to a Super Bowl.

"My family will be there and everybody's excited, but we got to go and handle business so that's the main goal right now." Ervin said.

Ervin's not the only connection the Packers have to San Jose State. Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich filled the same role with the Spartans for two years.

Story By: Andrew Goldstein

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

MADISON -
The Wisconsin Badgers will be losing another staple of their offense to the NFL Draft a year early.

Junior center Tyler Biadasz announced via his Twitter account that he will forgo his final year of collegiate eligibility and join this spring's rookie class.

"Thank you Wisconsin for all the great memories and letting me fulfill my lifelong dream of being a Badger," Biadasz said. "I look forward to competing at the highest level. The NFL has always been my biggest dream and I can't thank enough (sic) all the people that helped me along the way."

Biadasz, a native of Amherst, Wisconsin, is the third member of the Badger offense to leave after his junior season for the draft. Starting running back Jonathan Taylor and top wide receiver Quintez Cephus both announced their intentions to leave Madison last week.

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MILWAUKEE -
The Milwaukee Brewers announced a three-year contract extension for manager Craig Counsell on Wednesday. 

Counsell only had one-year left on his contract. 

The Brewers are 405-381 and made back-to-back playoff appearances in 2018 and '19 since the Counsell became manager in May 2015.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Quintez Cephus announced his departure for the NFL via his Twitter account Monday morning.

The junior posted a tweet saying, "Thank you Badger Nation! It's (sic) been a great ride and I'm ready for the next chapter. Thanks for all the support!"

Cephus led the Badgers in every significant receiving category in 2019. He hauled in 59 receptions for 901 yards and seven touchdowns.

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GREEN BAY -
The Green Bay Packers will face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 5:40 p.m. CT in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Seattle defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, 17-9, and advance to Green Bay by virtue of being the highest remaining seed. The winner of Green Bay-Seattle will face the winner of Minnesota-San Francisco in the NFC Conference Championship on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Green Bay lost to Seattle in the 2014 NFC Championship game after leading 16-0 at halftime. It will be Green Bay's first playoff game since the 2016-'17 season.

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GREEN BAY - A judge has imposed a restraining order against former Green Bay Packer Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. The order follows an incident last month in which he allegedly sent two armed men to a Christmas pageant for a school that his children attend. Gbaja-Biamila was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2013. He now professes membership in the Straitway Truth Ministry, a group that doesn't celebrate Christmas. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that the judge ordered at a hearing Friday that Gbaja-Biamila and his two followers not come within 100 feet of the headmaster, the school and school events for four years.

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MADISON - University of Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor announced on Twitter that he will not return to campus for his senior season. He will instead enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

Taylor started the vast majority of three seasons at Wisconsin, where he compiled 6,174 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns. He was the first Badgers running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and has the sixth-most rushing yards of any back in NCAA history.

The Badgers finished the season as champions of the Big Ten West with a 10-4 overall record. Wisconsin narrowly lost to Oregon, 28-27, in the Rose Bowl.

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PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Justin Herbert scored his third rushing touchdown of the 106th Rose Bowl on a thrilling 30-yard run with 7:41 to play Wednesday night, and No. 7 Oregon held off No. 11 Wisconsin 28-27 to win its third straight trip to the Granddaddy of Them All.

Brady Breeze returned a fumble 31 yards for an early touchdown for the Ducks (12-2). Herbert then made his go-ahead rambling run on the next snap after Breeze forced another fumble in yet another frenetic edition of this venerated bowl game.

Oregon held on to cap its Pac-12 championship season with its 12th win in 13 games. The Ducks celebrated on the famous turf amid confetti and cheers after the fourth Rose Bowl victory in school history.

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- San Franciso earned the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs with a 26-21 victory at Seattle. Jimmy Garoppolo and the NFC West champion 49ers (13-3) held on and sent Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (11-5) on the road to open the playoffs in the wild-card round next Sunday at Philadelphia.

"It's a good step in the right direction," Garoppolo said. "We've got a long way to go, though."

Green Bay earned a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs with a 23-20 victory at Detroit, the Packers' fifth straight win.

"We're hot," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "But you've got to start all over in the playoffs and it's all great football teams now, so the margin of error is even smaller."


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DETROIT - DETROIT (AP) " Mason Crosby kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Green Bay Packers to a 23-20 win over the Detroit Lions to earn a first-round bye.

The Packers (13-3) fell behind by two touchdowns in the second quarter. They didn't lead until Crosby made his second game-winning kick against Detroit this season.

The Lions (3-12-1) closed with nine straight losses for their longest losing streak in a season since going 0-16 in 2008.

Green Bay won despite Aaron Rodgers struggling to make accurate throws for much of the afternoon. Rodgers was 27 of 55 for 323 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He made a short pass under pressure to Aaron Jones, who turned the clutch throw into a 31-yard reception to set up Crosby's kick.

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MILWAUKEE -
The Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Dallas Mavericks, 120-116, to end their 18-game winning streak, the second-longest in franchise history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 48 points and 14 rebounds in 34 minutes.

Kyle Korver added 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

Power forward Kristaps Porzingis and guard Seth Curry both led Dallas in scoring with 26 points.

The Bucks host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, Dec. 19 at Fiserv Forum.



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