Receiver turns in gutty performance

No way Robert Ferguson should have even been in this game. Hobbling around on crutches following last week's disaster against the Vikings, Ferguson had suffered a twisted right knee and ankle. The prognosis was that he'd be out indefinitely.<p>

Somebody forgot to tell Ferguson that he couldn't possibly suit up against the Lions. He not only suited up, he served notice on the game's first play that he was not going to simply be a decoy. Snaring a 13-yard pass from Brett Favre, Ferguson gave the offense an early spark. On the very next play, Ahman Green squirted through a hole on the right side and raced 65 yards down the sidelines for the game's first score.

Others may have doubted that Ferguson would play Sunday but after the game, he shrugged off the injuries as quickly as he seemed to on the field. "I knew my body and how I react to injuries so I just concentrated on rehabbing all week so I knew I was going to play," said Ferguson. "Actually, it was kind of stiff during the pre-game warm-ups. I was a little sore during warm-ups and I didn't know if (GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman) was going to let me go or not. But after I put some heat on it, I felt good."

Ferguson acknowledged that he was far from 100 percent. "On certain plays, I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do," he said. "Even when I caught the ball, I was just trying to get down as opposed to getting the ball and trying to score or whatever. That's my mentality. It affected me a little bit but other than that, I just went ou there and played my heart out."

Ferguson caught three passes for 29 yards and a touchdown. But his value and inspiration to his teammates clearly outweighed his stats. "It seems like every week we've got a guy that's hurt, banged up and comes in and has a helluva game," said guard Mike Wahle. "Robert was the guy this week. It's expected around here but obviously it's very nice to see a guy show how much he cares about this football team and how bad he wants to win."

Perhaps Ferguson's biggest tribute came from Antonio Freeman who re-joined the team earlier this week. "Gutsy," said Freeman, shaking his head. "He came out today and did a fantastic job. He was the boost that this team needed. If guys can see Robert Ferguson bounce back from the injury he had last weekend and come out and play a whole game the next weekend, I think it says a lot for him and where this team can go."

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