Return specialist added to roster

The Green Bay Packers today added NFL Europe standout Brian McDonald to their pool of return specialists. Green Bay, which ranked near the bottom of the league in punt and kickoff returns last season, will be looking at a handful of candidates when training camp opens next month.<p>

McDonald averaged 27.8 yards on 14 kickoff returns for the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe this spring, ranking second in the league behind the Rhein Fire's Kendall Newson (28.7-yard avg. on 15 runbacks). He returned five punts for 43 yards (8.6-yard avg.).

As a receiver, McDonald caught 19 passes for 312 yards (16.4-yard avg.).

McDonald played for the Louisville Fire of the AFL2 in 2001 and set the league record for all-purpose yards with 3,289. He signed with Philadelphia as a free agent in January of 2002 and was allocated by the Eagles to play for Frankfurt. He finished the '02 season as the league's third-ranking punt returner (27 for 289 yards, a 10.7-yard avg.) and tied for 16th in pass receptions with 23 for 310 yards.

McDonald was a backup receiver and special teams performer for the University of Louisville, where he lettered twice. He replaces wide receiver Travis Williams, who has been placed on the NFL-E injured list (Achilles tendon) by Amsterdam.

McDonald will be competing in training camp against free agents Antonio Chatman, Gari Scott and Erwin Swiney; draft picks DeAndrew Rubin, Carl Ford and Chris Johnson; and third-year pro Robert Ferguson for the right to return punts and kickoffs this season.

The Packers had the worst punt return unit in the NFL in 2002, averaging just 4.2 yards per return. The Packers were 26th overall in kickoff returns with a 20.4 yard return average. In 2001, the Packers also finished near the bottom of the league.

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