Happy homecoming

Despite the tendinitis in his foot and a headache from his helmet, receiver Antonio Freeman had nothing but warm feelings about his first game back in a Packer uniform Sunday - a rollicking 31-6 win over Detroit.<p> Freeman expressed sincere appreciation for the huge ovation he received from the Lambeau faithful, but it was the enthusiasm of his long-time teammate Brett Favre that really hit home.<P>

"When No. 4 ran down the field toward me, that spoke volumes," said an emotional Freeman, referring to Favre's reaction to Free's first catch.

"It was great. Ninety-five percent of my career is with Brett Favre and today we got to relive it and rekindle it," Freeman said. "For him to be as excited as he was, it meant a lot to me."

Freeman, long Favre's favorite target as the duo forged the fifth-most yards in NFL history, wasted no time reclaiming his spot after signing with the team just five days ago. Freeman spent last season with Philly and did not re-sign with the Eagles, which meant he was available when the Packers came calling last week. Freeman led the team with four catches for 32 yards including two first downs. His first catch went for 13 yards and a first down. That drew congratulations from teammates and standing ovation from the crowd.

"It's like a little kid that ran away from home and comes back," Freeman said. "I didn't know what to expect. It was a great feeling. It shows my history and my seven years here means something, not only to me but to the peole in this area. I can't say enough about the fans, how they supported me.

The fans weren't the only ones happy to see 'Free.' Favre expressed a comfort level with Freeman that showed on the field.

"Free has meant so much to me in my career and to the Packers over the last 9 or 10 years," Favre said. "I enjoy having him back."

Originally, Freeman was slated to start due to injuries to Donald Driver (neck)and Robert Ferguson (knee/ankle). But in another of this game's compelling storylines, Ferguson was determined to shake off injury and play. he did, and turned in the best performance of his career.

The eventual return of both starters will not exclude Freeman from contributing, Favre said.

"Freeman will tell you that he can't run with those guys and that he is a body catcher. All the things you ask in a receiver, Free doesn't have. But the bottom line is productions. You can't argue with what he has done over the years."

Freeman agreed that with time, this duo could be as good as new.

"When it comes meat and potatoes time this year,m when we get our other guys healthy, that will make our four-receiver package that much better."

Packer Report Top Stories