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NFL Europe Opens 12th Season Saturday


Nine members of the Green Bay Packers will be in the mix this weekend when NFL Europe officially kicks off its 12th season, Saturday.

With Packers spread throughout four of the league's six teams, two European teams boasts three Packers players.

Cornerback Derek Combs returns for his second stint with the Amsterdam Admirals, along with tight end Tony Donald -- both of whom are expected to start Saturday's game -- and linebacker Steve Josue.

Defensive end Cullen Jenkins and cornerback Erwin Swiney top the depth chart for the Cologne Centurions, along with defensive end Eric Powell.

Two Packers newcomers, running back Walter Williams and wide receiver Shockmain Davis will start for the Rhein Fire, while tackle Jason Jimenez is the Packers' lone representative with the 2003 World Bowl Champion Frankfurt Galaxy.

Two games will be available on television to United States audiences.

DirecTV will open the season with a live broadcast of the Amsterdam Admirals at the Frankfurt Galaxy, Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. NFL Network will re-air the game with a taped-delayed telecast at 7 p.m. CT.

The Cologne Centurions vs. Rhein Fire will kick off the NFL Network's first live telecast of NFL Europe, Sunday at 9 a.m. CT. NFL Network will re-air the game at 7 p.m. CT.

A developmental branch of the National Football League, NFL Europe will play out over a 10-week season, leading up to World Bowl XII at Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen in Germany, June 12.

Included among the Packers' NFL-E alumni are Pro Bowl guard Marco Rivera (1996, Scotland) and quarterback Doug Pederson (1995, Rhein).

Quarterback Craig Nall in 2003, led a Scottish Claymores offense that topped NFL-E with 4,169 total yards. He led the league in passing yards, with 2,050, and touchdowns, with 18. His 95.9 quarterback rating also was a league best.

Week 1 TV Information --

*Saturday, April 3, Amsterdam Admirals at Frankfurt Galaxy - DirecTV, Live 11 a.m. CT; NFL Network, Delay 7 p.m. CT.

*Sunday, April 4, Cologne Centurions at Rhein Fire - NFL Network, Live 9 a.m. CT, Delay 7 p.m. CT.

NFL-E Facts --

Players from 12 countries outside North America will participate in the 2004 NFL-E season. Countries represented by 'national' players are: Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

Packers in NFL-E --

Derek Combs (Amsterdam Admirals) 6-0, 185 - cornerback ... won a spot on the 53-man roster based on his special teams work and his potential at cornerback ... played in eight regular-season games, primarily on special teams ... played collegiate football at Ohio State.

Shockmain Davis (Rhein Fire) 6-0, 205 - wide receiver ... originally signed with New England as a non-drafted free agent ... played 12 games for the Patriots his rookie season, with one start, catching two passes for 12 yards and averaging 22.5 yards for two kickoff returns ... remained out of football for the rest of 2002 after being waived by Seattle, Sept. 1 ... went to training camp with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts last summer ... earned two letters at Angelo State after transferring from Blinn Junior College.

Tony Donald (Amsterdam Admirals) 6-3, 245 - tight end ... initially signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent on June 13, 2002 ... signed with the Packers as a free agent on Jan. 7, 2003 ... started all four years (1998-2001) at the safety position while playing at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo.

Cullen Jenkins (Cologne Centurions) 6-3, 292 - defensive end ... initially signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent on May 2, 2003 ... was a four-year letter-winner (1999-2002) at Central Michigan.

Jason Jimenez (Frankfurt Galaxy) 6-7, 310 - tackle ... initially signed to the Packers' practice squad Sept. 2 ... remained on practice squad for all but one week of the 2003 season ... played collegiate football at Southern Mississippi.

Steve Josue (Amsterdam Admirals) 6-2, 222 - linebacker ... the Packers' fourth of four picks in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL draft ... spent the entire season on Green Bay's practice squad after being waived in the final cutdown for the regular season ... played collegiate football at Carson-Newman.

Eric Powell (Cologne Centurions) 6-3, 268 - defensive end ... initially signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent on May 2, 2003 ... played collegiate football at Florida State.

Erwin Swiney (Cologne Centurions) 6-0, 192 - cornerback ... played in six games over the course of two separate stints on the Packers' 53-man roster ... saw action in the initial three contests ... received the majority of duty on special teams ... was signed to the Green Bay practice squad on Oct. 11, where he remained for the next seven weeks until being re-signed to the active roster on Dec. 6 ... subsequently played in three of the last four regular-season games ... recorded 3 tackles plus 1 pass defensed ... also contributed 2 stops and an onside kickoff recovery on special teams.

Walter Williams (Rhein Fire) 6-0, 206 - running back ... initially signed by New England as an undrafted free agent April 27, 2001 ... played collegiate football at Grambling.

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