Manitowoc torn between cheering for Packers vs. Doug Free

Doug Free football jersey
(Photo: WBAY)

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) – At least one member of the Dallas Cowboys might generate a few cheers in Northeast Wisconsin.

Veteran offensive tackle Doug Free is a 2002 graduate of Lincoln High School in Manitowoc.

When Doug Free takes the field in Dallas Sunday against the Packers, it won’t go unnoticed by the football coaches at Lincoln High School where Free played on the varsity team starting as a freshman.

“He was a big man in a running back’s body,” said head football coach Rick Ducat. “He had some of the best feet. He was one of the fastest guys on the team.”

A jersey and a plaque on display at the entrance to the school fieldhouse remind visitors of Free’s football contribution.

After leaving Manitowoc he played for Northern Illinois before being drafted in the fourth round by Dallas in 2007.

Lincoln senior Braedon Bandt said, “Doug Free is always this guy to look up to especially being an alum here, and I don’t know, just cool to look at, and I look at what Doug Free is doing each week seeing, how they’re playing, but I don’t know as long as the Packers get the W, that’s all I really care about.”

School officials say Free still comes back to visit a couple of times a year.

For the kids who participate in athletics, he’s a huge inspiration.

Still, most people say there’s not much debate over who they hope wins on Sunday.

“I think most people here want him to do well. If they don’t get a sack on Doug Free, that’s great, but as long as the other tackle gives up sacks, and we win that game, that’s even better. But he’s just a proud part of Lincoln High School,” said assistant football coach Biff Hansen.