Packers Participate In Welcome Back Luncheon

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On the eve of the first full training camp practice, the 1100 people attending the welcome back luncheon learned the high expectations head coach Mike Sherman has for this year's Green Bay Packers team as they gun for a fourth-straight division championship for the first time in team history.

"We plan to do that," he said. "We also don't plan on stopping there. We start the season this year in Detroit [the location of this year's Super Bowl], and we hope and plan to end our season in Detroit."

Each player and coach was introduced to the crowd on Thursday as a member of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce escorted them to their seat at circular tables located in the Lambeau Field Atrium. The event allows the business community of Green Bay to celebrate the Packers and become acquainted with their local team.

"It's an opportunity to get out there and mingle with the fans," running back Tony Fisher said.

Each table of guests dined with a player or coach. The patrons wanted to learn more about the players behind the game.

"There really weren't too many football questions," Fisher said. "All they wanted to do was ask me about what I'm going to do after football, where I'm from -- stuff like that."

Fisher, who devotes time to the Boys and Girls Club, Paul's Pantry, Special Olympics, the March of Dimes, Epilepsy Foundation, the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation and Salvation Army, received the Community Service Award.

"It's a tremendous honor, and I'm greatly appreciative," he said.

The running back wore an open collar dress shirt with thin vertical lines. Sherman joked about his involvement with the Salvation Army.

"You might consider getting a coat and tie the next time you're there," he said.

The coach also poked fun at Kevin Barry, joking to those seated with the 332-pound offensive lineman. He told them he would reimburse them for lunch.

"I will give you a full refund," he said. "I know he's eaten most of the food at that table."

Aside from the humor he injected, Sherman expressed excitement for the coming season. He stressed the team's chemistry and their offseason commitment.

"We have a tremendous blend of veterans and rookies," he said. "They worked as hard as any group since I've been here."

The Packers have conducted such luncheons since the 1960s. Legendary coach Vince Lombardi started the tradition.

"It's great to be back with the team here and ready to go," Sherman said.

Note: Tight end Garret Cross has left the team.

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