GREEN BAY, Wis. Brandon Chillar had to be dragged out of a film study session with an unlikely teammate after just his second practice in Green Bay.
Chillar was sitting next to fellow linebacker Brady Poppinga, his main combatant for the starting strong side linebacker slot.
The Packers starting linebackers include Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk, but Poppinga and Chillar will compete for the final starting slot.
"There's two sides to competition, and depending on how you handle it it'll either build you or it can tear you down," Poppinga said. "Him being here, I think there's a competition component and I think it's going to build us up as a linebacking corps."
In three seasons in Green Bay, Poppinga has 28 starts, including 15 of 16 games last year. He only missed the final game because the Packers began with an extra cornerback on the field.
Chillar, who signed a two-year, $5.4 million deal as the only notable free agent signing so far this offseason for Green Bay, started 15 games last season and 41 in four seasons with St. Louis.
"As soon as Brandon came in, I was very elated because it gives our defense many different options as to how we can attack an offense," said Poppinga, who tends to be highly enthusiastic about everything related to football. "It's really made it hard for me to sleep at nights because I'm excited about this up and coming year."
Poppinga also said he doesn't feel like he's the incumbent or it's his starting job to lose.
"There's no guarantees except that signing bonus they give you and if you don't get one, then there's no guarantees," Poppinga said. "I've never taken the approach of thinking that I'll ever have anything given to me as a birthright."
Linebackers coach Winston Moss said he's noticed Chillar's work in film study.
"I just know from a preparation standpoint he wants to make sure that he's giving himself the best chance to be successful," Moss said. "He's a veteran player. He's started before so he's been through it. He's coming from a very similar (defensive) scheme."
Chillar said he signed with Green Bay because he was tired of losing. St. Louis went 3-13 last season, and it's something he said he never wanted to be a part of again, even if it means he doesn't know what his role will be.
"What I'm here to do is just help the team win and if that means whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do it to the best of my ability," Chillar said.
Chillar's work ethic of doing whatever is needed was partly instilled by his father, Ram, who immigrated to the U.S. at age 18 after living in a village of "about five houses" outside of New Delhi.
"He kind of bounced around all different parts of L.A. trying to find work," Chillar said. "He came over here with no money, he's just basically the typical American story trying to work his way up."
Chillar also had a very structured upbringing from his father, he said.
"He just really stressed education," Chillar said. "More than some other cultures, Indians really stress education, so he'd have us doing a lot of extra studies during summers, stuff like that."
Chillar's mother, Kathy, is part Italian and Irish.
"You can call me a mutt," joked the 25-year-old who played in college at UCLA after his father settled in southern California. He said Green Bay has been a welcome change from the lifestyle on the West Coast.
"I like it. Very peaceful," Chillar said. "I've really been able to focus on my job, work hard. Like I said, I've really enjoyed the quietness of it."