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NFL Europe Week 1 Preview


Eight members of the Green Bay Packers will be in uniform this weekend when NFL Europe officially kicks off its 14th season, Saturday.

The Packers are represented on four of the league's six teams. The Amsterdam Admirals field four Green Bay players and the Rhein Fire have two.

Four players -- safety Atari Bigby, cornerback Therrian Fontenot, tight end Tory Humphrey and wide receiver Chad Lucas -- spent time on Green Bay's 53-man roster during the 2005 regular season.

Bigby, Humphrey and Lucas all will suit up for Amsterdam, as will '05 Packers practice squad receiver, Vince Butler.

Fontenot, who played the final game of the season for Green Bay after spending the first 16 weeks on the practice squad, will play for Rhein. He will be joined on the roster by Packers newcomer, guard Pete Traynor. Also new to Green Bay are defensive tackle Jerome Nichols and quarterback Brian Wrobel, who will play for the Frankfurt Galaxy and Berlin Thunder, respectively.

NFL Network is the exclusive broadcaster of the NFL Europe league, and will air all 30 regular-season contests. The network also will broadcast Yello Strom World Bowl XIV, Saturday, May 27 at LTU Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The season will kick off with Frankfurt at Rhein, Saturday at 12:00 PM CT. Two other contests are slated for later in the afternoon (see schedule below).

Week 1 NFL Europe League Television Schedule

(All games broadcast on NFL Network)

Saturday, March 18

Frankfurt at Rhein - 12:00 PM (CT) Live (Broadcasters: Mike Corey, Morten Andersen)

Saturday, March 18

Berlin at Amsterdam - 6:00 PM (CT) (Broadcasters: Rich Ackerman, Jon Ritchie)

Sunday, March 19

Cologne at Hamburg - 2:00 PM (CT) (Broadcasters: Rich Ackerman, Cris Carter)

Packers in NFL-E

Atari Bigby (Amsterdam Admirals) 5-11, 211 - safety...From Central Florida, signed to the practice squad Nov. 1, 2005, was promoted to the active roster for the team's final two games, playing on special teams against Chicago (Dec. 25) and listed as inactive vs. Seattle (Jan. 1).

Vince Butler (Amsterdam Admirals) 6-0, 195 - wide receiver...Out of Northwestern Oklahoma State, participated in the Packers' 2005 preseason camp after signing as a nondrafted free agent in the spring. He had re-signed to the team's practice squad in November and spent the season's final eight weeks in Green Bay. Signed a reserve/future contract with Green Bay, announced Jan. 3.

Therrian Fontenot (Rhein Fire) 5-11, 187 - cornerback...From Fresno State, spent each of the season's first 16 weeks on the Packers practice squad after signing with the team in early September. Spent the 2005 training camp in Buffalo after joining the Bills as a nondrafted free agent. Promoted during the last week of the season and played in the regular-season finale vs. Seattle.

Tory Humphrey (Amsterdam Admirals) 6-2, 257 - tight end...Central Michigan product originally signed by Indianapolis as a nondrafted free agent in April, spent most of training camp in Green Bay. He rejoined the Packers as a practice squad player in mid-November. Promoted during the last week of the season and played in the regular-season finale against the Seahawks.

Chad Lucas (Amsterdam Admirals) 6-1, 201 - wide receiver...From Alabama State, first joined the Packers in June, spent most of training camp in Green Bay, then signed as one of the team's first 2005 practice squad players in early September. He spent two games on the 53-man roster, making his NFL debut at Atlanta, Nov. 13, and didn't catch a pass. Inactive for the following contest vs. Minnesota, Nov. 21, he returned to the practice squad later that week.

Jerome Nichols (Frankfurt Galaxy) 6-3, 285 - defensive tackle...Out of Wake Forest, signed a reserve/future contract with Green Bay, announced Feb. 6. Signed with Washington as a nondrafted free agent following the 2005 draft. He took part in the Redskin's training camp before being released during the team's final roster reduction. Collegiately, Nichols was a four-year letterman; his top performance came as a junior when he posted career-highs in games started (all 12) and tackles (33), adding two sacks, two interception, six passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.

Pete Traynor (Rhein Fire) 6-3, 311 - guard...Signed a reserve/future contract, announced Feb. 6...Had played the last three seasons with the Quad Cities Steamwheelers of the Arena2 Football League. At Iowa, he lettered three times as a reserve lineman. Traynor attended Milton High School in Milton, Wis.

Brian Wrobel (Berlin Thunder) 6-2, 197 - quarterback...From Winona State, hails from Stoddard, Wis. Signed a reserve/future contract with Green Bay, announced Jan. 3. Originally signed as a nondrafted free agent by Seattle in April, he spent the first few weeks of training camp with the Seahawks. A first-team Northern Sun Conference performer, Wrobel as a senior led the Division II Warriors to a 10-2 record and postseason berth. As a junior, he garnered second-team All America honors.

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