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Packers’ head athletic trainer Pepper Burruss will retire after long NFL career

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The longtime Packers trainer is calling it a career this summer.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Pepper Burrus (front right) helps Aaron Rodgers off the turf in week one of the 2018 season.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

For more than two decades, Pepper Burruss has been a fixture in the Green Bay Packers’ locker room. More specifically, Burruss has been in charge of the training room, serving as the team’s chief athletic trainer for over 22 years and working in Green Bay for the last 26.

Now, Burruss’ time with the Packers has come to an end. Mike Spofford of Packers.com, in a profile published Monday, revealed that Burress’ duties with the team are over, coinciding with the end of minicamp a week ago.

The Packers had already begun preparing for this transition a few years ago, however. That started four years ago, when the team promoted Burress to a new position, director of sports medicine management. That opened the door for Bryan Engel, who served as an assistant trainer for 16 years, to take over the head trainer’s position. Burruss’ new position gave him responsibility for all medical decisions in the organization, placing him above both the training and medical staffs in the team hierarchy.

In recent years, Burress has overseen the training regimen for a team that has had some injury struggles. Since Aaron Rodgers took over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2008, the Packers rank seventh in terms of most Adjusted Games Lost, according to research by APC’s Peter Bukowski in that stat compiled by Football Outsiders. In the past four years, with Burruss as director, the team has finished 21st, 21st, 15th, and 9th in that stat.

These numbers do not suggest that Burruss has led a poor program; in fact, the Packers’ players seem to love him, as shown by reactions to this profile on social media. Oren Burks and Kenny Clark were two players who showed their appreciation for Burress on Monday.

Burress did reveal his intention to remain in Green Bay, the place where he and his wife have called home since arriving in the early 1990s. At that time, he came over from the New York Jets after having a prior working relationship there with new Packers GM Ron Wolf.

Good luck to Burress in the next phase of his life.