Paul Perkins grew up in Arizona and played at UCLA, which made Thursday’s outdoor Giants practice pretty much the coldest experience of the rookie running back’s football life — or of his life in general.
“I’m not accustomed to too cold of weather, but it’s not going to be a big deal,” he said afterward, referring to Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Packers in Green Bay.
Why not? “Because we’re focused on the game plan,” he said. “The weather is secondary.”
To help make his point, Perkins took the field in short pants and short sleeves despite temperatures around the freezing mark. When asked why, he laughed and said, “You have to get used to being uncomfortable. It wasn’t too bad.”
The forecast for Sunday’s kickoff at Lambeau Field at 3:40 p.m. local time is temperatures in the low teens.
Will it be difficult to carry the ball in such conditions? How should he know?
“I’ll tell you on Monday,” Perkins said with a laugh.
Perkins’ great-uncle, Don Perkins, ran 17 times for 51 yards for the Cowboys in Green Bay in the famed Ice Bowl — the 1967 NFL Championship Game — but Paul Perkins said he had not had a chance to ask his uncle for advice.
“This [matchup] just happened this week, so I haven’t really felt the need to,” he said. “I’m sure if I asked him, he could help me with some tips on how to stay warm.”
Perkins has played an increasingly big role in the running game. He made his first career start against the Redskins last weekend and rushed 21 times for 102 yards.
“I have high expectations for myself; I’m looking forward to doing better things,” he said. “I left a lot of yards on the field last week. It doesn’t mean anything if I don’t back it up this week.”
Perkins said his veteran backfield mate, Rashad Jennings, has been “tremendously” helpful. That includes advice about carrying the ball in cold weather.
“He’s going to be in the right frame of mind,” Jennings said. “You’ve just got to protect it. The football is a little bit harder when it’s cold outside. It could get moist just simply because of the weather. But he’ll be fine. He’ll be fine.”