Completing a contractual "sweep" of their 2002 draft selections as training camp officially opened, the Green Bay Packers signed running back Najeh Davenport of Miami to a multiyear contract, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced Thursday.
Fourth-round pick Davenport, an imposing 6-1, 246-pound athlete who plays both running back and fullback, is the sixth and final draft choice to enter the fold.
Elsewhere on the team scene, veteran Packers players were checking into their plush new locker room in the Atrium area of renovated Lambeau Field throughout the day in preparation for tonight's first official full-team meeting of the season at their St. Norbert College training base, with Sherman presiding as he begins his third year as the 13th head coach in team history.
Meanwhile, rookies and first-year players, who reported Tuesday went through morning and afternoon workouts on Clarke Hinkle Field.
Davenport was the winner of Miami's "Unsung Hero Award" last season "in recognition of his sacrifices and willingness to put team success ahead of individual goals."
Transferring from halfback to fullback at the coaching staff's request, he rushed for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns in 23 attempts. He also caught 14 passes for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
In 2000, Davenport was the recipient of Miami's 'Jesse Armstead Comeback Player of the Year' award after recovering from a knee injury which had sidelined him for all but the opening game of the 1999 season, in which he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the knee against Ohio State. He rushed for 308 yards in 65 attempts (a 4.7-yard average), and caught 15 passes for 149 yards and 1 TD during that comeback season.
As a freshman, Davenport had attracted immediate attention by averaging an imposing 7.0 yards per rush (387 yards in 55 attempts) and scoring 6 touchdown while serving as the backup at tailback for Edgerrin James. He supplemented those contributions by catching 5 passes for 41 yards and averaging 26.6 yards for 12 kickoff returns.
Davenport, an intriguing athlete who moves his 246 pounds 40 yards in 4.57 seconds and bench presses 350 pounds, closed out his collegiate career with an impressive 5.3-yard rushing average (830 yards in 156 attempts) and 35 pass receptions for 381 yards, a 10.9-yard average.
Earlier a standout tailback at Miami (Fla.) Central High School, he rushed for 1,098 yards and 15 touchdowns in just five games in his senior year, rushing for 200 yards or more four times during the season.
Born Najeh Trenadious Monté Davenport, the 23-year-old Floridian graduated from Miami with a degree in theatre.
In other transactions today, the Packers signed wide receiver Javon Green of Colorado and waived wide receiver/kick returner Richard Lewis of North Dakota State (failed physical).
Green, 6-2 and 200 pounds, a productive receiver for the Buffaloes, originally was signed by the Oakland Raiders as a free agent on April 25, 2001. Waived July 21, 2001, he later was re-signed by the Raiders January 21, 2002. Subsequently allocated to the NFL Europe League by Oakland, he was released April 21 after the NFLEL broke training camp.
As a senior at Colorado in 2000, Green tied for the team lead in catches with 48 and led the Buffs in receiving yards (699) and touchdowns (4). He also threw one pass for a 19-yard score. In 1999, he had 40 catches for 663 yards and 7 touchdowns, finishing fourth in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game and averaging a stunning 45.4 yards for his seven touchdown receptions.
The 24-year-old Inglewood, Calif., native earned prep All-America honors as a senior after playing eight different positions (WR, TE, FS, CB, SS, DE, OLB and P) and catching 56 passes for 1,131 yards and 9 touchdowns. He added 6 more touchdowns on kick returns (4 punt, 2 kickoff). On defense, he registered 46 tackles, with 6 interceptions (2 for touchdowns), 2 sacks and 6 pass deflections. Green played seven games at quarterback as a junior when he earned second team, all-league honors, passing for 1,331 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Green, who has been assigned jersey number 7, joined Packers rookies and first-year players on the practice field this afternoon.