Improving their depth at fullback and securing the position's future in the process, the Green Bay Packers have signed former Cincinnati Bengal Nick Luchey to a multi-year contract as an unrestricted free agent, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced Wednesday.
Considered the potential heir to incumbent William Henderson, the massive University of Miami alumnus (6-1 and 270 pounds) is depicted as a quality all-around athlete by Sylvester Croom, the Packers' veteran offensive backfield coach.
Croom describes the four-year professional as an outstanding blocker who also has running skills (a 4.5-yard career average, 32 rushing attempts, 143 yards) and good hands, having caught 24 passes for 226 yards, a 9.4-yard average, while playing in 45 games with 9 starts for Cincinnati.
Luchey (pronounced LOO-chee), who will turn 26 on March 30, posted the best rushing performance of his pro career during the Bengals' 20-13 upset victory over New Orleans last December 22. Moving from fullback to running back because of injuries to Corey Dillon and Brandon Bennett, he rushed for 59 yards in 12 attempts and scored a pair of touchdowns.
A fifth-round selection (the 135th player chosen in the 1999 draft), the former Hurricane started eight games for Miami in 1998 and was the lead blocker for Edgerrin James, who rushed for 1,416 yards.
Luchey, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich., was a two-time all-state selection in football at Farmington's Harrison High School and rushed for 1,358 yards in leading Harrison to the state Class A championship as a senior.
The newest member of the Packers' offensive backfield was known as Nick Williams until the summer of 2002 when he had his name legally changed from James Nicolas Wllliams to that of his biological father.