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Nickerson Visits Mini-Camp Practice


Hardy Nickerson (right), with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.

For only the second time this offseason, sunny skies allowed the Packers to practice outdoors Thursday, but Green Bay's 'railbirds' lining the fences at Clarke Hinkle Field weren't the only visitors observing practice -- veteran linebacker Hardy Nickerson was also in attendance.

Nickerson, who was released June 3 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, is hunting for a team and the Packers are rumored to be interested in an experienced linebacker.

"We'll always keep our eyes and ears open for any possible player that might be able to help our football team," said Packers GM/head coach Mike Sherman after Monday's practice.

Last season with the Jaguars, Nickerson made a franchise record 230 tackles, a career high. Over 15 NFL seasons in which he's also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Nickerson has amassed 1,759 tackles.

The Packers have made no indication that signing the 36-year-old Nickerson would mean demoting second-year player Torrance Marshall, who has been playing middle linebacker with the first-string defense throughout both mini-camps. The Packers also recently acquired 10-year veteran Robert Jones, who spent last season with the Washington Redskins.

Quarterback Brett Favre, himself preparing for his 12th NFL season, urged that Nickerson's age should not dissuade the Packers from trying to acquire him.

"I think Hardy is 37-years-old, but he's still playing at a high level, I think better than most guys at that position across the league," Favre said. "More than that, the leadership and experience that he brings - he knows how to win, he's won in the past, he's always been a thorn in our side.

"He's a guy you enjoy playing against because you have to raise your level of play. He's very instinctive, smart and, like I said, still can play.

"I would love to have him. I don't know if that's going to work out, it's nice to see him visit here, but I know we'll do everything we can to sign him."

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