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Packers Notebook - Crouch Gets His Shot


After a year away from football, Eric Crouch finally got his chance Wednesday to play quarterback in the NFL.

Granted, it was only in the Green Bay Packers' mini-camp practice. But it meant for more reps than the former Heisman Trophy winner got last offseason in St. Louis, where he was asked to play wide receiver.

"I couldn't be more excited to be here," Crouch said afterward. "I'm happy about the situation I'm in."

The situation, it seems, still needs to be defined.

Wednesday, Crouch worked only as a quarterback, but earlier in the week GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman indicated his interest to try Crouch as a punt returner.

Last year Crouch retired from the NFL rather than play a position that wasn't quarterback, but for the moment the former University of Nebraska star seems more agreeable to playing elsewhere.

"Any way that I can help this team win football games, I'd be willing to do that," Crouch said Wednesday.

Provided, that is, that the Packers continue to give him a chance at quarterback, something the Rams didn't do after selecting Crouch in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft.

One of three players in NCAA history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards in his career, Crouch's ability running the ball is unquestioned. But after shining in an option offense, his prowess throwing the ball needs to be demonstrated.

"There are a lot of questions about my arm strength," Crouch said. "I understand that that can be an issue when they haven't seen me throw very much in college. But coming here to prove that that's not an issue is something I wanted to do."

Crouch admits that he has a long way to go before he's an NFL quarterback. And it's about learning the offense as much as learning the throws.

But Sherman came away from Crouch's first practice with a positive review.

"I think he's farther ahead of what I originally thought," Sherman said. "I thought he had a good arm, which he does. He throws a tight spiral. He's fairly accurate -- even if he's throwing it to the other guy, he's accurate.

"I think he did a nice job today. (He's) somebody worth working with."

At which position Crouch gets most of his work this offseason, only time will tell.

Winters Still Around

Officially, Frank Winters was cut from the Packers' roster Monday. But after 16 NFL seasons, his career is still going strong.

Wednesday, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman was asked whether Winters would be back under contract with the Packers in 2003.

"I expect it," Sherman said. "Frank's been in the building (at Lambeau Field). The contract work hasn't been done just yet.

"Although technically we cut Frank to do the new contract, he's never really absent from our minds and our hearts and our souls.

"Frank is just negotiating right now, and that's fine because he can't really do much this camp anyway."

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