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JudeThaddeus 11-06-2003 08:11 AM

Grady's New Home
From the Times Daily
AP Sports Writer

A man's reputation usually precedes him, and that certainly was the case Wednesday in Green Bay, where the Packers eagerly awaited the arrival of massive defensive tackle Grady Jackson.

"I know he's a very, very large man," center Mike Flanagan said, recalling last season, when the Packers hand their hands full with Jackson and Norman Hand in a loss at New Orleans.

Jackson is even bigger than Flanagan remembered, too. He's said to be pushing 370 pounds on his 6-2 frame, about 30 more than a year ago.

The Packers signed the talented but troubled lineman late Tuesday after he was cut by the Saints, who were unhappy with his weight and his attitude.

But Jackson didn't arrive in Green Bay early enough to practice or attend meetings, leaving his coaches and teammates to speculate on his weight, health and desire but especially the impact he'll have on their season.

Coach Mike Sherman said he's counting on Jackson practicing Thursday and playing against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

What assurances did Sherman get that Jackson, who was drawing weekly fines for being overweight and had just served a one-game suspension for breaking a team rule, would be on his best behavior in Green Bay?

"I don't have any assurances other than the man himself coming in here and doing it the way we want it done," Sherman said. "He's going to be held accountable."

The Packers really are in no position to be choosy right now. Their defensive line has been their biggest disappointment, and Rod Walker, who needs surgery on his left shoulder and right knee, joined Joe Johnson and James Lee on injured reserve this week.

So, the Packers were thrilled to sign the seventh-year veteran who spent five years in Oakland and registered 85 tackles and nine sacks in 1 1/2 seasons with the Saints.

"Any guy that has started in the NFL that you can get this time of year, it's a bonus to your program," defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. "We have a need. Our biggest thing is to get him in here and get him up to speed with our system and around our players."

Sherman said he envisions playing sumo-sized nose tackle Gilbert Brown and Jackson together at times.

"That'd probably be good," Brown said. "Two big ol' dudes in there like that. I know I'm cuter, though. That's all I can tell you."

Defensive tackle Larry Smith, who joined the Packers last month after several seasons in Jacksonville, said Jackson should fit right in.

"I don't know anything about Grady," Smith said. "But, being a professional, I'm sure he can pick up anything he has to."

And he's glad to have another big body in the mix.

"With the rotation and all, it will allow us to stay fresh and put more pressure on the quarterback," Smith said.

Jackson was suspended without pay for failing to report to the team hotel for a Saints home game against Carolina two weeks ago. He didn't play in that game because of an injury to the small finger of his left hand, which required surgery to reattach a ligament.

Saints coach Jim Haslett, who was miffed that Jackson skipped offseason workouts in New Orleans because of personal problems, was upset that Jackson chose to sit out against the Panthers rather than playing with the injury.

Sherman said Jackson's injured finger won't be a bother in Green Bay.

"He was ready to play this week for the Saints if he was still on their roster," Sherman said. "And he assures me that will not be an issue."

Neither should his weight, suggested Reggie McKenzie, the Packers' director of pro personnel.

"If you look at the way he's playing, he's still moving pretty good," McKenzie said.

Another Saints castoff, cornerback Michael Hawthorne, was excited about Jackson's signing.

"You're going to love his game," Hawthorne said. "For a big man, he can play."

Hawthorne said he knew from personal experience that Jackson wasn't the villain the Saints contended he was.

"Everybody has problems in New Orleans," Hawthorne said. "If you're an average person, a pretty nice guy, the Saints have problems with you. It's like they accept bad seeds. The problems stem with them.

"One thing you can't do is control or talk to a person like they're beneath the earth. You don't get anything accomplished by talking negative to a person all the time," Hawthorne said.

"Let me just tell you this: We got a steal in Grady Jackson."

Another satisfied customer in Michael Hawthorne. :(
No one who leaves the Saints has anything good to say about them. I am really tired of seeing this in the press.

pakowitz 11-06-2003 08:19 AM

Grady's New Home
hey Jude, this was already posted under the topic \"grady a no show in green bay\"

JudeThaddeus 11-06-2003 08:33 AM

Grady's New Home
Apologies. When I first checked B&G this morning it wasn\'t there. I will double-check next time.

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