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Fisher To Receive Starting Nod


He may have caught 38 passes for 277 yards last year, but don't tell Tony Fisher he is just a third down back who catches passes out of the backfield.

"They're so used to seeing me in passing situations. They forgot that when I was a rookie I was able to run the ball as well," Fisher said. "It's an opportunity for me."

The opportunity knocks for the No. 3 running back because Ahman Green will miss the rest of the season with a torn quadriceps tendon, and No. 2 running back Najeh Davenport broke his ankle on Oct. 9.

Fisher, a four-year veteran, who has 727 career rushing yards, will make his second career start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"A No. 3 guy with the skills of Fish -- that's unheard of in this league," fullback William Henderson said.

Fisher's skills differ a bit from Davenport and Green. The 250-pound Davenport bulldozes through defenders, the 6-1, 222-pound Fisher slashes his way through the hole, and Green serves as a combination of both.

"Tony's a tall, gangly who can find a way to make a seam and he has great hands and has great body control," Henderson said. "He's versatile, fundamentally sound."

Although the Packers will start Fisher, Head Coach Mike Sherman said ReShard Lee, signed on Oct. 6, will also see action. Lee received seven carries versus the New Orleans Saints, but most of his contributions have come as a special teamer.

"He's done an excellent job on special teams," Sherman said. "He's a relative unknown as a runner, but he'll get a chance this week. That's for sure."

Although Lee has never started a game, Fisher showcased his skills in that role when he filled in for an injured Green during his rookie year in 2002. He rushed 25 times for 96 yards and a touchdown in a 26-22 Packers win versus the Minnesota Vikings.

"I'm not gonna worry about any pressure," he said. "I know what I'm capable of doing."

Although he only has 189 career carries, Fisher can withstand the same punishment as a workhorse like Green. He has become accustomed to absorbing hits on special teams and third downs.

"Running into a wedge is probably worse than the pounding Ahman would take," Fisher said.

One difference, however, in their running styles is that Fisher usually ran on third downs without a fullback blocking in front. He expressed his comfort in running behind Henderson or Vonta Leach, and the Packers likely will use him in two-back sets.

"We really don't change our offense," Fisher said.

His second start becomes even more special for the Euclid, Ohio native. Although he does not know the exact number of guests, he expects friends and family to attend Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

"I'm going to find out from my Mom today or tomorrow," he said. "I assume it's gonna be a lot."

Those family members could see Fisher and other Packers rise to the occasion because of the injuries to their backfield.

"I'm confident in our ability to overcome adversity," Henderson said. "Wounded dogs are the hardest dogs to deal with, and hopefully we'll come out this week as a wounded animal."

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