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Brown Practices, Continues Comeback Attempt


Gilbert Brown didn't do all that much in the Green Bay Packers' afternoon practice Wednesday, but his limited participation was a lot for a guy whose season was supposed to be over August 9.

Getting on the field for the first time since he ruptured his right biceps in the Packers' second preseason game, Brown took part in less than half of the afternoon practice, getting in a few reps during 9-on-7.

Brown reported no additional pain, and even shed a brace specially-designed to restrict his movement.

Asked whether he passed the first test in his bid to play this season Brown said, "I haven't got my grade from the principal yet, but I think I did ... I felt good. I went out and (played) and there ain't too much more I can say. It's up to (GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman) now."

Having refused -- for the moment anyway -- surgery that would repair his arm but end his 2003 season, Brown is trying to prove that he can be a difference-maker on defense, even with his biceps detached at the elbow.

In previous cases with other football players, such injuries have almost always been season-ending, a notable exception being former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Ken Norton Jr., who played eight games with a similar injury in 1993.

Although Brown believes he might be able to pull off similar heroics, he doesn't have a large window of time in which to prove that argument.

Sherman said that if possible, he would like to determine by the end of the weekend whether Brown's comeback is realistic. At most, Brown has through the final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, August 28.

If there are still doubts lingering by then, Brown will have to be put on injured reserve and someone else will get his spot on the 53-man regular-season roster.

Based on limited action Wednesday, Sherman said it was too soon to count Brown in or out.

"We're just trying to test it," Sherman said. "He did a nice job out there, so we'll have to wait and see about (Thursday), whether it swells up."

Even if Brown is unable to complete his comeback and play this season, his mere attempt has created a buzz at Lambeau Field.

Quarterback Brett Favre said Brown's efforts are an inspiration to other players on the team.

"If anyone questioned why he's in (football), you don't question anymore," Favre said. "He wants to play. I'm not a doctor, but I'm sure he's risking some permanent damage to his arm.

"No one's making him play. He could have easily gone on I.R. and went home and never looked back, and I'm sure there are guys that do that.

"With that type of injury, 99.9 percent of the guys are going to have season-ending surgery ... Gilbert said, 'No, I'm going to try. I know I can help this team.'"

Although Brown has 340-pounds of force to throw around on the defensive line, to be effective he'll need power from his injured arm.

In his early rehabilitation efforts, Brown impressed the Packers' medical staff with the amount of strength he was able to generate using the remaining healthy muscles in his right arm. Those early successes were enough to get Brown on the field Wednesday, but how his body responds to continuous game-related thrashing is anyone's guess.

Even Brown is unsure how long his comeback attempt will last, but he's determined to make the best of what his body has left to give.

"I guess I'm kind of different than the average football player," Brown said. "I love these guys I play with and I feel like I have an obligation to them, just like they have an obligation to me. So I'm going to give it my best shot and just play football. That's what I love to do."

-- Jeff Harding contributed to this report.

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