Gilbert Brown is back

Gilbert Brown took care of his football career in the present and future Tuesday when he signed a multi-year deal with the Packers.<P> The nose tackle, long a fan favorite, assured he'll be in camp before the team's first game Monday night, and he cemented his wish to retire as a Green Bay Packer.<P>

Brown, 32, had not been in camp the past week since veterans reported, and he was absent from the team's minicamps. He returned this afternoon to a welcoming team.

"He does give us a big body in there," coach Mike Sherman said. "I have a plan for how we are going to utilize his talents this season. And, hopefully, it will be a plan that will keep him on the field, maybe more during the season but maybe less during the game."

The new approach is designed to give longevity to Brown, who has missed a lot of time due to injury during his nine-year Packer career so far.

Brown played in 12 of 16 games in 2002, with 11 starts, posting 36 total tackles, including 23 unassisted stops. He also was credited with one pass defensed and one forced fumble.p "We still feel that he is a force when he's in there," defensive line coach Jethro Franklin said. "We just have to do – from a monitoring standpoint – everything we can to make sure that we're taking every way possible to assure that he's in there. I feel good about him as a player – we'll see how it goes.

His weight's been real good the last couple years, so he's shown the dedication there alone. His experience is the biggest asset which makes him a leader of this team," Franklin said.

Brown has been working with a personal trainer at his alma mater, Kansas, during his absence.

"He makes a big play and he does the old 'grave-digger' routine," Franklin said, "and gets everyone all fired up…It sends a message, you know."

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