Barnett makes camp debut

What a difference a day makes. Packers first-round draft pick Nick Barnett sat in his vehicle Saturday, watching his team practice from across the street. Sunday, Barnett was finally on the other side of the fence as the recently-signed linebacker took the training camp field for the first time.<P>

After inking a seven-year deal Saturday night, Barnett practiced with the rookies and other first year players Sunday as they wrapped their weekend debut. Barnett has been in town for more than a week and missed only the rookie reporting day and Saturday's session.

"Football is my love," Barnett said. "She left me for a day, so I had to stalk her a little."

Once on the field, Barnett made an impact in two 75-minute sessions. He drew cheers from the crowd of about 350 by batting down a Craig Nall pass intended for tight end Joey Knapp in 7-on-7 drills.

"Being on the field, it's sort of natural as a football player," Barnett said. "It's just getting the scheme down and playing. I was just happy to be out here."

If he's rusty, it didn't show. Barnett has been diligently doing his homework, studying a computerized playbook and watching film of practices he missed. Barnett was unable to participate in the second mini-camp due to NFL rules prohibiting rookies from practicing when their colleges are still in session.

"I'm excited to see what he can do," head coach Sherman said after the morning practice Sunday. "I think I know what he can do, that's why he's here, but I don't think the fact that he missed the last mini-camp will have any factor on him. He's studying and he'll get caught up fairly quickly."


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