GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was 11 p.m. on Monday night when Davon House landed at the Minneapolis airport. The Packers cornerback had missed his connection to Green Bay and needed to be back at Lambeau Field for the start of an OTA in less than nine hours.
Like many frustrated travelers, House vented on Twitter.
Any packer fans in Minnesota want to take a trip to Green Bay 😎 maybe I can hitch hike a ride 👍— Davon House (@DavonHouse) June 6, 2017
That's when a pair of Packers fans -- brothers Chad and Mike Johnson, from the western part of Wisconsin -- sprang into action. They tweeted at House that they would give him a ride to Green Bay.
I could come over and get you. https://t.co/bL7QuTlz2N— Chad Johnson (@chadj19) June 6, 2017
@DavonHouse I'll get you to Green Bay man. In one piece even! I'm a half hour from MSP, would be happy to help.— mike johnson (@mikeyj14) June 6, 2017
House accepted, and off they went on the four-hour-plus ride.
"I went to bed, and I was scrolling through my Twitter and saw he needed a ride," Chad Johnson told ESPN on Tuesday. "My brother lives in Hudson; I'm in Eau Claire. I tweeted him that, 'I could come pick you up,' and in the meantime I texted my brother that House needs a ride. My brother also tweeted him. He was closer, so he swung up to the airport and picked him up, and I met him on Highway 29 so my brother and I could keep each other awake."
Chad said he brought along a pillow so House could get some rest in order to be ready for Tuesday's practice.
They delivered House to his vehicle, which was parked at Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport, and were prepared to say their goodbyes.
"It would've been cool just to get a picture with him there, but he was like, 'Follow me to the stadium and I'll sign some stuff for you,'" Chad Johnson said. "We told him he didn't need to do that, and he insisted. He has OTAs at 7:30, and here he is at 3:30 in the morning doing this. So he brought us over there, we got to go in the locker room. He signed some shoes and some gloves and let us take pictures with the Super Bowl trophies."
Chad Johnson said House forced his brother to take $80 for gas and wanted to give him more, but they refused.
House said he wasn't worried about getting in the car with strangers because he discovered via Twitter that they have a mutual friend and did a quick background check by calling that friend.
"So I did my homework before I hopped in the car with strangers," House said. "But what's the difference between that and Uber, huh?"
Sure enough, House was a full participant in Tuesday's practice
"I'm tired. I'm tired," he said. "So it was like 4½ hours [in the car], we talked for a good hour and a half, so a good 2½ hours [of sleep while] driving, and then when I got home, took them to the stadium, I had to show them everything, took pictures, show them the Super Bowl trophies, they were awed and amazed, they walked by Aaron's [Rodgers] locker, and they touched his shoulder pads -- I didn't let them put them on, though -- but they got the whole experience. I probably got home around 4:45. And then woke up at 7."
House said he even offered to put his drivers up in a hotel.
"I said, 'Hey, let me get you guys a hotel, and you guys can leave the next day,'" House said. "And [they said], 'Nah, we're going to go back and go to work.' I was like, 'Dang ...'"
Rodgers was impressed but speculated that House may have had motivation for making it back.
"When it comes down to the end here and you're thinking about your percentage and making sure you get your workout bonus, you'll do just about anything to get back here in time for these OTAs," Rodgers said.
House signed a one-year, $2.85 million contract to return to the Packers, where he played his first four seasons, after two years with the Jaguars. The deal included a $150,000 workout bonus.
"He talked about how much he loves Green Bay and didn't really care for it in Jacksonville," Chad Johnson said.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy was impressed with House's commitment to getting back to Green Bay for Tuesday's OTA.
"It tells you about his commitment -- both from our fans and Davon," McCarthy said before Tuesday's practice. "He knows the importance of it. [Practice] is so limited at this time of the year. And really, outside of Aaron and maybe a couple other guys, you don't have veteran players that are pre-CBA [collective bargaining agreement] that clearly understand the importance of nine weeks as opposed to when you had 15 weeks.
"It's important, especially when it's an install day. You never want to miss an install day because you get it going with everyone and the adjustments, and this is the time of year when you can slow things down and teach it in a progression. I think Davon obviously showed the importance of being here."
House isn't the first Packers player to take extreme measures to get back to Green Bay for an OTA practice. In 2009, then-linebacker A.J. Hawk paid $1,000 for a taxi to drive him from Minneapolis after he missed his flight to Green Bay.
The Johnson brothers were back at work Tuesday morning, too. They turned around and drove right home. Chad, 41, works as a process engineer who molds medical components, and Mike, 38, runs a demolition crew.
"It was a bad night for him, but made memories that will last forever for a couple of lifelong Packer fans," Johnson said.