Former Bengals Safety Among Those Looking Forward To Sunday's Game


Sunday's game versus the Cincinnati Bengals will carry special significance for several Green Bay Packers players.

The Bengals drafted safety Mark Roman in the second round of the 2000 draft, and he spent the first four years of his career with the team.

"It's always meaningful. It's not that I'm mad at the organization or anything like that," Roman said. "Anytime you're performing against your former team in this business, you want to play well against them."

Roman started 27 games for the Bengals. His best year came during 2003 when he started all 16 games and recorded 83 tackles. An unrestricted free agent, Roman signed the next year with the Packers because he liked the coaching staff and the slower pace of Green Bay, Wis.

"I wasn't disgruntled. I don't feel sideways towards anyone in the organization," he said. "I like being in Green Bay. They treat you real good over here. The fans, the organization, the team -- everybody is very close knit over here."

For punter B.J. Sander, the game will represent a different kind of homecoming. He grew up in Cincinnati, attended Roger Bacon High School and rooted for the Bengals as a child.

"I'm real excited about this week, getting a chance to go home and play in front of my family and the old home crowd," he said.

Sander, whose favorite Bengals players included running back "Ickey" Woods, punter Lee Johnson and quarterback Boomer Esiason, expects 20 to 30 friends and family members to attend.

"[Ryan] Longwell's been here nine years," said Sander as his ribbed his locker room neighbor. "And they still haven't played in Seattle (Longwell's hometown)."

Sander played at Paul Brown Stadium when Ohio State faced Cincinnati during his collegiate days. He remembers the strong wind that came off the Ohio River, creating a tough punting environment, but the wind does not swirl like it does at Lambeau Field.

"With a constant wind, it's tough," he said. "But it's a little easier to prepare for it."

Another Ohio State alumnus, defensive lineman Kenny Peterson lives in Columbus, Ohio, a two-hour drive from Cincinnati. He expects 20 friends and family members to attend the game.

"Any time my family and friends get an opportunity to watch me play, of course, it's exciting," Peterson said. "It will be fun."

For Roman serious bragging rights will be on the line. Since learning the Bengals appeared on the Packers' schedule, he has talked trash with friend and former teammate, Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh over the phone.

"You better be ready when we get down there," Roman told him.

With Cincinnati serving as a hometown reunion for several Packers, the Green Bay players should be ready too.

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