Former Bill Could Spell Injured Running Backs


The bye week comes at an opportune time for ReShard Lee. The Green Bay Packers running back, acquired on Oct. 6, will go through a crash course in mastering his new offense.

"I'm going to use every day that I can to improve everything I know," Lee said. "As much they taught me, I can go in there and play the game, but I still have a long way to go."

Indeed Lee went right in there. Three days after signing with the Packers, he rushed the ball seven times. He also returned kicks with wide receiver Jamal Jones, but the kickoffs went toward Jones' side.

"It was a lot of work, especially including the special teams," Lee said. "But that's what they expect you to be able to do. That's what the conditioning's all about."

He may see more action with No. 2 running back Najeh Davenport out for the season with a fractured ankle and the starter, Ahman Green, questionable with a knee/quadriceps injury.

After Sunday's game, Green said he would play on Oct. 23. Head coach Mike Sherman expressed less optimism.

"They're making progress. We're obviously pushing for the Minnesota game," Sherman said. "There are no guarantees there."

If Green cannot go, Fisher likely will start. He has only started one game in his career, serving instead as a third-down back and a valued special teamer. He showed that versatility on Sunday, gaining 59 total yards and leading the Packers in receptions with six.

"He has done a lot of different things in a lot of special situations for us," Sherman said. "Tony Fisher did a great job before Najeh got hurt and even after Najeh got hurt."

Fisher averaged 2.7 yards-a-carry on Sunday -- far less than his career average of four yards-a-carry. He, however, expressed his readiness for the job.

"You always have to prepare to be the guy," Fisher said. "You never know what's going to happen."

Lee can attest to the uncertain timing of life. As a Buffalo Bill, he wowed the Packers three months ago. A 220-pounder, he showed a nice burst during the team's joint scrimmages and returned a kickoff return for 69 yards in the preseason game between the teams on Aug. 20.

Little did Lee realize he eventually would end up on the opposite sideline. He said he did not know why the Bills released him following his strong preseason showing.

"I never would have thought it," he said." But everything happens for a reason."

Whether karma-induced or not, Lee filled a role for the Packers on Sunday, rushing seven times for seven yards. Those numbers will not light up any stats sheet, but with the Packers trying to grind out clock, the New Orleans Saints frequently brought their strong safety down to stop the run.

"He did not have many chances to be successful in the game," Sherman said. "That's not indicative of what he's capably of doing."

Lee has displayed the ability to run between the tackles during 9-on-7 practice drills. Those skills are why he led the Dallas Cowboys in rushing average (4.7) with 128 yards on 27 carries in 2004.

"He can be a pretty good runner," Sherman said. "He's a big back. He has excellent hands. He can catch the ball out of the backfield ... He's an excellent student, studying pass protection."

Lee is not only learning the Packers' offense but how to play the running back position. A knee injury wiped out his first NFL season in 2003. He played another year with the Cowboys before the Bills signed him in May.

He only has played running back for three years. At Middle Tennessee State University -- where he earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors -- he served as quarterback, receiver, running back and kickoff returner before declaring for the NFL draft after his junior year.

"Anything with the football is what I did," he said.

Running back coach Edgar Bennett is helping Lee understand the nuances of the position such as how to properly use a stiff arm and avoid punishing blows.

"I'm learning to do the little things," he said.

Lee will not have to adjust to life in Green Bay, Wis. A Brunswick, Ga., he enjoys the pace of life there.

"I'm a country boy," Lee said. "I stay in the house and watch DVDs and BET. That's what I do."

He will also spend much of the time learning a new offensive system.

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