Saturday represented the first appearance of veteran players at the Packers' 2002 Training Camp.
A 25-yard completion from Brett Favre to new-arrival Terry Glenn started the team's first practice in pads off on the right foot and gave fans, seated four-deep around the perimeter of Clarke Hinkle Field, something to cheer about.
Shortly thereafter, tight end Tyrone Davis managed a one-handed grab on a ball thrown just behind him by rookie Craig Nall just a few feet in front of a delighted Packers contingent.
Linebacker Hardy Nickerson made his mark early, welcoming running back Herbert Goodman to camp with a punishing hit at the line of scrimmage to the awe of his teammates and linebackers coach Bo Pelini. Later, Nickerson reiterated his presence on the field as he solidly greeted William Henderson immediately upon the fullback's reception of a short pass from Doug Pederson.
But the veterans were not the only Packers putting on a show. First-year guard Tim Stuber received high praise from assistant offensive line coach Pat Ruel after forcing a defender away from the tackling dummy in one-on-one drills. And onlookers were given a glimpse into the future when rookies Nall and Javon Walker connected for a 30-yard completion despite tight coverage by cornerback Hurley Tarver.
Cornerback Keith Thibodeaux had a great practice, notching a pair of pass deflections, an interception and accolades from fellow defensive backs, who rank among the best in the league. One of those backs, Mike McKenzie, intercepted a pass from Favre, prompting GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman to stroll across the field and ask, "You didn't break a nail on that, did you?"
Practice resumes Sunday, July 28, from 8:45-11:45 p.m. and 2:45-4:45 p.m., and will be held at Clarke Hinkle Field, weather and field conditions permitting.
*-- by Leslie Ricker *