Why Raiders’ Alec Ingold at Lambeau Field will bring goosebumps for many

Raiders' fullback and blocking phenom Alec Ingold was a star quarterback and three-sport star in Green Bay

  • Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media Bay Port’s Alec Ingold battles Oconomowoc?s Brett Samson in the 220-pound Division 1 championship match Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison. Bay Port’s Alec Ingold battles Oconomowoc’s Brett Samson in the 220-pound Division 1 championship match during the WIAA individual wrestling state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

  • Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media Bay Port’s Alec Ingold raises his arms after defeating Oconomowoc?s Brett Samson in the 220-pound Division 1 championship match at the WIAA individual wrestling state tournament Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison. Ingold won 9-2. Bay Port’s Alec Ingold raises his arms after defeating Oconomowoc’s Brett Samson in the 220-pound Division 1 championship match during the WIAA individual wrestling state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

  • Bay Port junior Alex Ingold (9) passes the ball during a game against Manitowoc at Bay Port High School in Howard, Wis., on September 20, 2013.Lukas Keapproth/Press Gazette Media

  • Bay Port’s Alec Ingold (9) looks for room to run on his way to a touchdown against Pulaski earlier this season. Ingold leads the FRCC with 19 touchdowns. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Bay Port’s Alec Ingold (9) looks for room to run in the first quarter during Friday night’s football game against Pulaski at Pulaski Community Middle School in Pulaski. Ingold scored a touchdown on the play. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

  • Bay Port quarterback Alec Ingold gets past Notre Dame Academy’s Vincent Pallini on a first quarter run in the FRCC game played at Goelz Field in Ashwaubenon, Friday, September 12, 2014. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media/@HMarcLarson

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Otis Chambers had finished three guided tours at one of the most sainted locales in NFL history but conceded his emotions were mixed with the thought of the Raiders playing at Lambeau Field.

Chambers is Green Bay, Wisconsin, through and through. The Packers, as well as the local school district where he worked for 34 years, are a big part of his life. As an athletic director at Bay Port High, Chambers saw every game Raiders rookie fullback Alec Ingold ever played before taking his retirement dream job at Lambeau.

Ingold was a star high school quarterback, honors student and three-sport athlete who never acted like the big man on campus. Few in the “920” area code will forget his exploits. And here comes Ingold in silver and black, taking on the beloved Packers.

“I’ll be his No. 1 fan,” Chambers said. “If he carries the ball, that crowd will explode.”

The center of attention at Bay Port, Ingold is a grunt now, and proud of it. He’s a fullback — a position nearly extinct in some offensive systems. Yet Ingold has gained some social media fame in the last two weeks through crushing blocks and maximum effort.

Ingold got a taste of it during the Raiders’ bye week, when he went back to Green Bay and also visited former teammates in Madison, where he played fullback at Wisconsin.

“It’s good to get back,” Ingold said while sitting in front of his locker when the Raiders resumed practice following their bye week. “I’m excited to play in front of friends and family. It will be fun.”

A 24-21 win over the Bears in London gave Ingold another taste of the spotlight as it included a cut-block of Khalil Mack for a Josh Jacobs touchdown and making tackle Akiem Hicks go backwards as if on roller skates. Ingold finished it off by leaving his feet like a flying squirrel for a lead block to get Jacobs in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

“It just happened,” Ingold said. “Just saw a lot of guys on the ground and at that moment I was like, `We’ve got to get Josh in the end zone here.’ So I tried to get in somebody’s way.”

Ingold sounded almost relieved to put all the talk about his heroics behind him.

“It’s been crazy hearing the outreach of people,” Ingold said. “It was nice to get back to the facility after a bye week and say, `OK, let’s analyze this. Let’s get better.’ I honestly couldn’t wait until today.”

In other words, back to business.

Ingold first caught Jon Gruden’s eye at the Senior Bowl. Ingold played for Gruden’s “North” team in Mobile, Ala., and during the game laid out Stanford linebacker Bobby Okereke near the sideline. Gruden, who goes to bed dreaming of fullbacks, tight ends and power football, enthusiastically greeted Ingold after the play.

Gruden has liked what he’s seen from Ingold as a pro even more.

“He was really ticked off he didn’t get drafted,” Gruden said. “If I’ve done anything right since I’ve been here coaching the Raiders it was the recruiting call I made to Ingold.”

It turns out a relationship Ingold formed with Jacobs during the NFL scouting combine had something to do with it as well.

“He’s been huge. Besides the offensive line, he’s the next biggest thing,” Jacobs said. “I think I’m third in the whole process. I mean, from meeting him at the combine, for him deciding to come here because of the relationship we had there, it’s definitely dope. I give him all the credit. He deserves it.”

When Ingold wasn’t drafted, Gruden picked up the phone, the Raiders quickly signed him to a contract and he beat out incumbent Keith Smith to make the 53-man roster.

The son of Pat Ingold, a legend in his own right in the Green Bay wrestling community, Alec took up the sport in his youth and was one of the top age-group wrestlers in the country by the seventh grade.

Ingold added football and baseball in high school, blossoming as a quarterback in a running/passing scheme and giving up baseball after his freshman year.

As a senior, Ingold rejoined the baseball team and earned all-league honors as a right fielder as if he’d never stopped playing. That came after he won the state 220-pound wrestling title as a senior, finishing unbeaten.

The mental and physical discipline of wrestling gave Ingold a fundamental baseline that carries through to this day.

“Some of the attributes of the sport, where you’re constantly working with your balance, how to move people and stay in control lends itself to football really well,” Pat Ingold said in a phone interview.

It helped that Ingold was a natural athlete who was bigger and faster than anyone else. Mike Frieder, the principal at Bay Port, will never forget the first time he saw Ingold play.

“I remember him coming into a game when he was a sophomore and he ran 95 yards for a touchdown,” Frieder said. “Then there was a holding penalty. The next play he ran 97-and-a-half yards for a touchdown. You looked around and thought, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’”

Gary Westerman, the coach at Bay Port, described Ingold as the best of both worlds — a natural athlete who was good at anything he tried while at the same time never resting on that talent or acting as if he were anything other than one piece of a team puzzle.

“Alec was always about the team,” Westerman said.

In 34 games over three seasons at Bay Port, Ingold rushed for 4,208 yards and scored 61 touchdowns and completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,838 yards and 28 touchdowns.

“He was a very good passer. He could spin it,” Westerman said. “The last time I saw him he joked he couldn’t remember the last time he did a three-step drop.”

A rare photo of Alec Ingold (45) with the ball in his hands before the Raiders played Indianapolis.

Ingold originally committed to Northern Illinois to play quarterback. That changed when Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst saw Ingold play and immediately offered him a scholarship without specifying a position.

Then Chryst left Pittsburgh for Wisconsin, and Ingold had a chance to play in his home state on scholarship. He began as a linebacker and eventually switched to running back and fullback. A punishing short-yardage runner, Ingold had 17 rushing touchdowns and averaged a touchdown every 6.1 carries for his career.

Once Northern Illinois was out of the picture, Ingold was prepared for the possibility that his days as a quarterback were over.

“I made that decision when I went to college that I was just going to play football, wherever I could find a spot on the field,” Ingold said. “That’s kind of how that worked. Wisconsin came with a late offer and I became a selfless football player.”

Ingold delivers the last line with a dry sense of humor, which was part of his makeup at Bay Port until it was time to go to work.

Quinn Pierner, a junior at Wisconsin who succeeded Ingold as the Bay Port quarterback and was his backup, said a change came over Ingold when it was time to get serious.

“He was happy go lucky and stuff before games, but when he hit the field or the weight room it was straight business,” Pierner said. “Once in awhile he’d be kind of fiery, but it was more leading by example. He just kind of put his head down and worked and let his play do the talking.”

Ingold admitted he missed playing quarterback initially.

“When you’re used to touching the ball all the time and calling plays, you definitely miss the impact,” Ingold said. “But more and more you get into your own role and you realize how important your job can be. I don’t miss it anymore.”

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said of Ingold, “Violent, very physical . . . the film doesn’t do him justice — and the film looks pretty good.”

The Raiders have yet to throw Ingold a pass and he’s rushed the ball only twice — both for first downs.

Yet Ingold relishes the fullback role to the point where he seems almost uncomfortable discussing his own success, much the same way his understated father almost needs to be coaxed into talking about his son’s rise.

“I don’t need to tell you the odds of making a professional team as a fullback without getting drafted probably weren’t all that great,” Pat Ingold said. “But he’s always been a fighter, and that’s one thing you’re always going to get out of him is his best effort. To see him play professional football, it honestly is very surreal, a pinch-yourself moment. I mean, that’s my son out there.”


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