Another return trip home for Southwest’s Scharping
By Greg Bates
ASHWAUBENON – The last time Max Scharping played at Lambeau Field, he was a rookie in 2019 making his NFL debut for the Houston Texans on the field he grew up watching his childhood idols.
When Scharping gets back to Lambeau Field when the Texans and Packers play the first preseason game of the season Aug. 14, it will be a little different feeling for him.
“I’ll feel a little bit more comfortable out there,” Scharping told Packerland Pride, a publication Multi Media Channels owns and operates. “That being the first preseason game I ever played in and my first game in an NFL uniform, that was special for me. Having my whole family and a huge fan section, that was awesome to play in front of them. This time, I’m sure I’ll have quite a few in the stands as well, but I’ll be more comfortable.”
Scharping, who grew up about five miles from Lambeau Field, said it’s special to play for the second time in Green Bay.
“How many guys get to do it even once?” Scharping said. “I get lucky enough to do it twice in my first three years. I get to play in the place where I grew up and where my parents still live. It’s something special for sure. I’ll be more focused mentally knowing how to prepare for a preseason than I was that first game going in.”
About 200 close supporters were in attendance for that preseason game.
“It tells you something about yourself again,” Scharping said about his experience. “This is where I grew up. This is part of who I am and it built me to be the player and person I am. It was special to see how much that affected me and how much it meant to me to see everybody. It was a special moment for me to have all that support and all of them to be wearing a Texans shirt or Texans jersey instead of some of the Packers’ stuff I was expecting to see.”
Scharping said the most exciting part of his trip back to Green Bay last time came off the field.
“It was a couple of days before my birthday, so I took the whole O-line over to my parents’ house, and we grilled out the Thursday before the game,” Scharping said. “We were all at my parents’ house, and they gave me a birthday cake. It was cool to see my parents show everybody where I was from – show them some good old Midwest hospitality.”
Scharping, who turned 25 Aug. 10, is off to a solid start in his career.
In his first two seasons, the 2014 Green Bay Southwest graduate played in 31 games with 22 starts.
He has become a staple at left guard for the Texans.
As a rookie, he stepped in during Week 3 and took over the starting job.
Last season, Scharping earned eight starts despite missing time after contracting COVID-19.
“It’s big for confidence and trusting in your ability,” Scharping said. “Being able to play and play a couple of years, you get to know who you are as a player and how to scout the other guys across the ball from you. You build a routine on how you go about your business.”
Scharping said he’s hoping the Texans’ first preseason game against the Packers will help him get established for the season.
“It’s going to be big, especially since we have so many new guys on the team and a new coaching staff,” Scharping said. “It’s going to be big for our chemistry, seeing how well we’re grasping the offense, getting to know each other and how each person plays in a game-like setting. We need to build that trust before we head into the regular season.”
Growing up and rooting for the Packers, Scharping said his allegiance to his hometown team has faded some since playing for the Texans, but he still cherishes his childhood memories as a diehard Packers fan.
“That was a huge part of my life for 22 years,” he said. “My parents are still huge Packers fans and have season tickets. It holds a special place in my heart because that’s where I grew up and that’s who I grew up emulating and wanting to be like. I wanted to be in the NFL. I wanted to be a Packer growing up. It sticks with you, but at this point, I’m a Texan. I can’t wait to put a good game on.”