No question about it – the Packers' new defensive tackle Grady Jackson is a big man. The question Green Bay GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman had to ask before signing Jackson this week was if the big lineman could put his problems behind him before heading north.
Jackson, 6-2, 370 pounds, reportedly was fined repeatedly by the Saints for various violations, including being overweight, according to an AP report. New Orleans also handed Jackson a one-game suspension for breaking an unspecified team rule. The seventh-year lineman had just served his suspension before the Saints placed him on waivers Tuesday.
Will the Packers recognize Jackson, who was 30 pounds lighter the last time they saw him – harassing the Packers offensive line in the Saints' 35-20 win over GB last season? They had to wait to find out because Jackson did not arrive in Green Bay on time for practice or meetings Wednesday, his first official day with the team.
Sherman placed the responsibility on the player, rather than on the reputation.
"I don't have any assurances other than the man himself coming in here and doing it the way we want it done," Sherman said. "He's going to be held accountable."
Jackson, who comes to Green Bay after five years with Oakland followed by a season and a half in New Orleans, also will have to be accountable for filling the gap left by a slew of injuries to the defensive line. Rod Walker was the latest casualty, requiring both knee and shoulder surgery. Walker joins fellow linemen rookie James Lee and veteran Joe Johnson on the injured list.
Defensive tackle Gilbert Brown spoke to reporters about the possibility of coach Mike Sherman using both Brown and 6-2, 370-pound Grady Jackson on the defensive line at the same time:
"That would probably be good," Brown said. "Two big ol' dudes in there like that. I know I'm cuter, though. That's all I can tell you."