Musgrave’s on Record Pace; Not That He Cares - Sport News

Musgrave’s on Record Pace; Not That He Cares

Green Bay Packers rookie tight end Luke Musgrave has caught 27 passes for 249 yards this season. That might not seem impressive until you consider:

Musgrave’s on Record Pace; Not That He Cares

– Among all rookie tight ends in franchise history, 2000 first-round pick Bubba Franks holds the records with 34 receptions for 363 yards. Musgrave already ranks second.

– Musgrave is on pace to catch 57 passes. The franchise record for a tight end was Jermichael Finley’s 61 catches in 2012. Richard Rodgers caught 58 in 2015, Paul Coffman caught 56 in 1979 and 55 in 1981, and Finley had caught 55 in 2009 and 2011.

Impressed now?

You know who’s not impressed?

Musgrave.

Do the numbers matter at all?

“No,” he said on Friday.

A couple locker stalls down, receiver Dontayvion Wicks overheard the conversation.

From there, Wicks and Musgrave traded “Yeah” and “No” several times until Wicks made his point.

“Because you’re going to help the team out the more you get,” he said.

Finally, Musgrave conceded – a bit.

“Yeah. There you go. That’s what it is,” Musgrave said to Wicks. Then, he turned to the reporter. “Personally, I don’t care. I just want to help the team. I just want to win. If that means catches, [great]; but if that means blocking, that’s what it means. I don’t really care. Whatever helps the team win. So, in that aspect, but, no, not really.”

Musgrave was perhaps the most interesting player in a loaded tight end class in the 2023 NFL Draft. Iowa’s Sam LaPorta and Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer had prolific careers. Utah’s Dalton Kincaid had a prolific final season. Georgia’s Darnell Washington – who will be on the field when the Packers battle the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday – was a mauling blocker with an untapped physical skill-set.

At 6-foot-6 and 4.61 speed in the 40, Musgrave was all projection. At Oregon State, he caught 47 passes. Total. He caught 22 in 2021 and was on his way to a huge senior season with 11 catches in his first two games before a season-ending injury.

A second-round pick, Musgrave was practically handed the starting job from the moment he set foot on the practice field. He hasn’t had a single big game – he’s had a pair of six-catch games and set a career high with 51 yards and his first touchdown against the Rams last week – but he’s provided steady production as a receiver and surprisingly quality work as a blocker.

With size, athleticism and hands, his obliteration of the team’s rookie records seems like a formality, and Finley’s 61-catch season is well within reach if his rapport with quarterback Jordan Love continues to grow.

“I think he’s a great player,” Love said. “We’ve just got to keep trying to get him the ball more. I think that touchdown was huge for him. It might just take one play sometimes to get rolling and get a consistent basis making those plays.”

Musgrave was the fourth of six tight ends selected in the first two rounds and of nine tight ends taken in the first three rounds. Among the rookie class, he ranks third with his 27 receptions for 249 yards; the Detroit Lions’ LaPorta has 43 catches for 434 yards and the Buffalo Bills’ Kincaid has 40 catches for 339 yards.

“It was great to see him get in the end one,” offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said. “You could kind of see his explosiveness and all that stuff and what we’re really excited about him for.”

For most players, that first career touchdown is a big deal. A member of the team’s equipment staff tracked down the ball and gave it to Musgrave.

Where is it? On the mantle at home? Trophy case? Sent home for safe keeping?

The answer tells you all you need to know what’s important.

“It’s in my apartment somewhere. It’s not like it’s in a special spot,” he said. “Right now, I think it’s in my office just kind of chilling out.”

“It doesn’t matter all that much,” he added. “I think it’s really cool that I have it but it wasn’t a huge [deal]. I think the win mattered more to me than the ball did. I’m not super-sentimental about stuff like that. I think it’s cool to have but I’m not going to throw a fit if I don’t have it.”

As Musgrave spoke, a large photo of his touchdown catch, taken by one of the team’s photographers, sat in his locker. Did that play mean anything special?

“It meant sealing the deal for the win against the Los Angeles Rams, which was huge. We needed a win and we got it and that kind of put the nail in the coffin,” he said.

But how about for his career? Was it a confidence boost? Did it show him he belonged? Did it confirm he’s doing the right things?

“Nah,” he said. “We just went up three scores on the Rams. Let’s keep this lead and go celebrate in the locker room.”

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