Several Packers players began their football season during the weekend, but the action took place on a different continent.
NFL Europe's opening week featured a bevy of close games. Each was decided by four points with the Cologne Centurions defeating the Hamburg Sea Devils 14-10, the Berlin Thunder defeating the Amsterdam Admirals 33-29 and the Rhein Fire defeating the Frankfurt Galaxy 10-6.
In those matches the eight Packers participating in NFL Europe made significant contributions. Four Packers players -- wide receiver, Vince Butler, wide receiver Chad Lucas, tight end Tory Humphrey and strong safety Atari Bigby added to Admirals' potent offense.
Skyler Fulton, allocated by the Seattle Seahawks led the Admirals in receptions, but the second, third and fourth leading receivers were Packers. Butler caught three passes for 27 yards, Lucas caught two for 24 and Humphrey caught two for 12. On the defensive side, Bigby tied for the team lead in total tackles with seven and had one pass defensed. As the starting free safety, Bigby helped limit the Thunder to 227 passing yards.
Quarterback Brian Wrobel played for the winning Thunder but did not attempt a pass. The game served as a rematch of World Bowl XIII with the Thunder earning a semblance of payback for last year's defeat.
In the other game featuring Packers, Pete Traynor, who usually plays guard, started at center and helped pave the way for 113 Fire rushing yards. On the defensive side, Therrian Fontentot did not start but recorded one pass defensed in the Fire win. The victory represented the Fire's first win against the Galaxy in three years and provided head coach Jim Tomsula with a "W" in his coaching debut.
Nichols started for the losing Galaxy squad but put forth a standout performance. The starting defensive tackle recorded four tackles, including a seven-yard sack of quarterback Timmy Chang.
Packers players will look to make that sort of impact in Week 2 as the Fire visit the Thunder, the Admirals visit the Centurions and the Sea Devils visit the Galaxy.
Week 1 Results
Cologne 14, Hamburg 10
Berlin 33, Amsterdam 29
Rhein 10, Frankfurt 6
Week 2 Schedule
Saturday, March 25
Rhein Fire at Berlin Thunder 8 p.m.(EST)
Hamburg Sea Devils at Frankfurt Galaxy 1 p.m.(EST)
Sunday, March 26
Amsterdam Admirals at Cologne Centurions 9 a.m.(EST)