Gardner Working to Get Back on Track

Rod Gardner, who missed the first two days of training camp in Green Bay with a sore left hamstring, took part in both practices Sunday. For Gardner, he cannot get on the field soon enough.

Gardner was claimed by the Packers on waivers from Carolina last Dec. 20, and is attempting to stick with the team after playing in the final two games last year.

A former first-round pick of the Washington Redskins out of Clemson, He signed a one-year contract this off-season and is competing for the No. 3 or No. 4 spot among the wide receivers this year.

The sixth-year receiver, who has been somewhat of a disappointment since he was drafted 15th overall by the Redskins in 2001, he is basically trying to resurrect his pro career.

Like Robert Ferguson, who has struggled in his first five seasons, Gardner has a lot to prove this training camp.

"It's time to get it back on track and try to get a home settled," Gardner said. "I'm eager, hungry for it. I'm going to work hard to get it done."

Gardner caught four passes for 67 yards (16.8-yard average) in two games.

The competition for a starting spot across from Donald Driver is wide open. Robert Ferguson, Greg Jennings and Marc Boerigter are the top candidates besides Gardner. Fourth-round pick Cory Rodgers and free agent Ruvell Martin are two sleepers who sneak into the No. 2 or No. 3 spots.

Gardner could have signed with any other team as a free agent this off-season, but chose to remain in Green Bay. Gardner received a one-year deal worth $855,720, including a $100,000 signing bonus.

"I got a lot of support from the guys, there's no negatives," Gardner said. "It's not that type of situation. We're all happy. We're all together in this. Everybody will get a chance. As long as you go out there and compete and do what you've got to do, you'll be all right."

Bottom line: Gardner has a very good chance to be Green Bay's No. 3 receiver, but not No. 2.

As it stands, Jennings or Ferguson are ahead of Gardner based on their performances thus far in training camp. If Gardner can have impressive showings in preseason games, that could change, but don't count on it.

"We definitely want him to be a contributor to our offense," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Top Stories