GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Corey Linsley, like any good NFL rookie, does as he's told.
That was evident Wednesday in the Green Bay Packers' locker room, where he was about to share the story of the apology letter he wrote -- apparently to his fellow offensive linemen -- that quarterback Aaron Rodgers referenced Tuesday on his radio show.
But first, the Packers center had to check with guard T.J.Lang to see if it was OK.
A minute later, Linsley returned. The contents of the letter, apparently at Lang's request, would remain classified.
Whatever Linsley apologized for, it probably had nothing to do with his performance this season.
Forget that that he wasn't even supposed to play this season but was thrown into the starting center job in the final week of the preseason after JC Tretter's ankle injury, Linsley has not just performed well for a first-year, fill-in starter. He has done it by any measure, and here's one: the website ProFootballFocus.com, which grades every player on every play, has Linsley ranked as the No. 3 center in the NFL behind only Nick Mangold of the New York Jets and Max Unger of the Seattle Seahawks. Between them, they have seven Pro Bowls -- five for Mangold and two for Unger.
"At some point, there needs to be a little bit of campaigning about him for Pro Bowl, I think," Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "He's played that good. He doesn't have the name recognition yet. A lot of times, you get voted in a year after you deserve to and maybe a year longer than you deserve to, but Corey's been so solid at center for us. I'm really proud of him. He's been a rock in there. He's had two great guys to play next to, but I think they'd say the same thing; that he's been playing a really high level."
The 23-year-old Linsley doesn't spend his off day listening to Rodgers' radio show, but nonetheless those comments were relayed to him by his girlfriend, Anna, who proudly follows what is being said about him on Twitter, or as Linsley described her: "Retweet, retweet, favorite, retweet."
"It's an honor that he would say that, and I feel very fortunate that he thinks that about me," Linsley said at his locker Wednesday. "But for him, this is his 10th season and for me this is my eighth week, ninth week. I've got a long way to go. I've got seven weeks left and a lot more ball to play. I can't be thinking about that. I do feel very fortunate and very honored that he would say that about me."
Linsley, a fifth-round pick from Ohio State, has handled every situation that has presented itself -- from the opening game at Seattle, where Rodgers yelled him at for prematurely launching a shotgun snap into the quarterback's chest (and no, that wasn't the source of the apology letter) to last week when he didn't know until game day whether his bookend guards Lang and Josh Sitton would be healthy enough to play against the Chicago Bears.
There will be another challenge this week from the Philadelphia Eagles, who run as complex a defensive scheme as the Packers have faced this season.
"I don't want to let any of my teammates down," Linsley said. "That's my biggest thing. That's why I prepare. I don't want to point the finger at myself and say I'm the reason why we lost this game. That's what really drives me."
And apparently, he's also quite the writer.
"Especially of apology letters," Rodgers said.
And then Rodgers added: "That's kind of an inside story. He might want to tell it, but you have to ask him."
He might share it some day, perhaps when he's the veteran on this offensive line -- something that seems inevitable based on the way he's played so far.