Tight end gets running start for training camp

A season with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe convinced Tony Donald that he can successfully convert from a versatile defender to a dependable tight end. Now Donald will have training camp to win the Packers over as well.<P>

Donald's outstanding NFL-E season will give him better name recognition among the hopefuls for the No. 3 spot behind Bubba Franks and David Martin. Donald will battle undrafted rookie Keith Willis and 29-year-old veteran Steve Bush, who signed last week after being cut by Arizona.

Arguably the most effective of the Packer allocations in overseas play this spring, Donald finished the 10-week NFL-E regular season with 30 catches for 354 yards and four touchdowns. His accomplishments were acknowledged with an All-NFL Europe League Team selection.

That's not bad for a tight end who came into the season with zero experience at his position. And it's not as if Donald moved over from a related position like fullback. The Western State (Colo.) product played safety in college and signed as a linebacker with the Packers as a free agent in Jan. 2003. The Packers switched Donald to tight end late in training camp last year. He spend parts of the season last year on the Packers practice squad as a tight end.

The 6-3, 245-pound Donald made a name for himself with the Admirals not only through his speed but through aggressive play and consistently dependable hands.

He'll have to use those weapons to combat Bush's advantage in experience, versatility and size. The competition could intensify depending on what Willis can do in training camp, and if the Packers re-sign veteran Wesley Walls.

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