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Packers Notebook - Driver Will Travel, Won't Play


Just days after he and his wife Betina welcomed their first child into the world, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver will make the trip to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday night.

The fifth-year veteran won't play however as he is still nursing a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last six days.

"I was wishing (I could play)," Driver said Saturday, "but the hamstring is just to a point that it's not ready to go. I'd rather not push it until it's time. If I push it, who knows? I don't want to miss the first game of the (regular) season trying to push during the preseason."

Driver hopes to be available by the Packers' second preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, August 9. Although he didn't participate in practice, Driver did do some running Saturday inside the Don Hutson Center, and delivered a positive report.

"I ran pretty good," he said. "(But) I'm not 100 percent."

Maybe not physically, no. But the new father is still beaming over the birth of his son, Cristian Donald Driver, Wednesday afternoon.

"Healthy baby boy," Driver said. "I couldn't ask for anything better than that."

Ferguson Out

Donald Driver won't be the only inactive receiver Monday. Robert Ferguson, who injured his tailbone during practice last week, also is expected to miss the Packers' preseason opener.

"I wouldn't count Fergy out of anything, simply because he's so anxious to get back on the field," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "But I would say it's a long shot to see him out there."

With Driver and Ferguson sidelined, Javon Walker and Karsten Bailey are expected to start Monday night.

Seventh-round draft pick Carl Ford and former Arena Football League player Antonio Chatman will likely follow, before Brian McDonald, Kamau Peterson and DeAndrew Rubin finish things off.

NFL Europe veteran Jorg Heckenbach has yet to practice after being hospitalized with kidney dysfunction at the start of camp.

Chatman Improving

The Packers signed Antonio Chatman in their quest to find a punt returner, but of late the former Arena League standout has been impressing with his skills at receiver.

"Chatman is doing a nice job, better than I expected him to do" GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Saturday. "He keeps getting better every day as a receiver."

Standing 5-foot-9 and weighing 177 pounds, the Packers have no illusions of Chatman rising up the depth chart at receiver, but if he can prove capable in a pinch as the No. 5 receiver, it would make it easier for Sherman to keep him on the 45-man roster and utilize his return skills.

"He's small, but extremely quick," Sherman said. "He's been fairly dependable (at receiver), so I'm excited about him."

Return Men

Antonio Chatman and Carl Ford are expected to share punt returning duties in the Packers' first preseason game Monday, but the search for a regular return man isn't down to two.

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman indicated that Robert Ferguson also is getting strong consideration for the position.

"He would have been the leading candidate coming into camp because he had practiced it last year with me and I know he's going to be on the 45-man game-day roster," Sherman said. "We were pushing for him."

Ferguson will miss Monday's game with a sore tailbone, allowing additional reps for Chatman and Ford, who also seem to be earning Sherman's trust.

"So far I would say Chatman and Ford have shown the ability to not just make good decisions and catch the ball, but show a burst up the field."

Quarterback Minutes

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman didn't want to put an exact number on it in terms of plays, but said Saturday that starting quarterback Brett Favre and veteran backup Doug Pederson will combine to take the Packers into the second quarter.

From there the signal calling duties will be turned over to second-year pro Craig Nall, followed by former Cincinnati Bengal Akili Smith.

Nall's last NFL action was in the preseason of 2002. In between he quarterbacked the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe, leading the developmental league in yards (4,169), touchdowns (18) and passer rating (95.9).

After a year of learning the Packers' system and 10 games of airing out in Europe, Nall says he is a more confident player than he was a year ago. Which he believes makes him a better player as well.

"Sometimes it's just clearing your mind and being and athlete and coming out and playing," Nall said of his keys to success. "I have a tendency to think too much whenever I'm in the game. It kind of slows me down a little bit.

"Whenever I just sit back, relax and say, 'Hey, I'm just going to go out and make plays today,' it tends to work for me."

Safety Dance

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman indicated that Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper will likely be held out of Monday night's game as a precaution, due to the stinger Sharper suffered last Sunday.

That means second-year pro Marques Anderson and fifth-year veteran Antuan Edwards will both be in the starting lineup.

Anderson and Edwards are in one of the most tightly contested position battles of training camp as they fight for the remaining starting spot opposite Sharper.

Others Out

Those confirmed out or doubtful to participate in the Hall of Fame Game vs. Kansas City are Chad Clifton (pelvis/hip), Donald Driver (hamstring), Robert Ferguson (tailbone), Jorg Heckenbach (kidneys), James Lee (hip), Adam Tate (knee), Mark Tauscher (knee), Steve Warren (back) and Reggie White (knee).

Also questionable are David Martin (hamstring), Lamar Smith (knee) and Rod Walker (shoulders).

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