A Tale of No. 2 Jerseys

In the event that newly signed Tim Couch is on the Packers' active roster at any point in 2004, he will become only the second man to wear No. 2 for the Green and Gold.<P>

The first? If you know this answer, then the Packer trivia crown is yours. Charlie Mathys, a back out of Indiana, was No. 2 for the 1925-26 seasons.

Since then it's been worn at training camp by a handful of forgettable players. One player who donned the deuce was memorable enough to make one wonder if he still should be wearing the jersey in Green Bay, getting ready to step from the wings into the limelight.

Quarterback Aaron Brooks is one in a long line of hopefuls for heir-apparent to Brett Favre. He was originally drafted by the Packers in 1999 with a free agency compensatory pick. He was picked out of Virginia with the Packers' first pick of the fourth round (131st overall.)

Brooks burst into training camp and preseason, making an instant impression with a strong arm and overall athleticism. He posted a 73.1 passer rating during the preseason, going 5-of-11 for 112 yards and a touchdown. He added 28 yards rushing on eight carries.

That's as far as Brooks' stats would go in Green Bay. He earned a spot on the 53-man roster but was the Packers' inactive third QB for all 16 regular season games. Brooks' only season here, which incidentally was also the only year as head coach for Ray Rhodes, finished shy of a postseason berth.

Brooks was considered talented but expendable, as Favre was 30 years old and just one season removed from his three-year MVP reign. The Packers dealt Brooks just before the 2000 season as part of a deal with the Saints for linebacker K.D. Williams and the Saints' 2001 third-round draft pick.

Williams lasted two seasons with the Pack, proving to be a serviceable special teams player and backup. The third-round pick received for Brooks was later packaged in a pre-draft trade of picks with San Francisco. The resulting positions netted WR Robert Ferguson and CB Bhawoh Jue.

Brooks, meanwhile, has been lighting it up in New Orleans.

As the Saints starter for every game since week 10 of the 2000 season, at 28 Brooks has established himself as on of the league's best young QBs. In 2002 he was tied at the top of the NFC with a Saints-record 27 touchdown passes. Last season he had a career best completion percentage (59.1) going 306-of-518 for 2,546 yards. He had 24 touchdowns against just 8 interceptions. His QB rating was also the best of his career at 88.8. During the 2003 campaign Brooks posted his third consecutive 3,000-yard season en route to surpassing the 10,000-yard career mark.

Those numbers are nice, but a long way from Favre. And that's the point. While this No. 2 is probably much happier as the Saints' No. 1, it would have a been an excellent – and less expensive – security blanket for the Packers as Favre reaches age 35.

Instead, the Packers now look to Couch, who when given a chance to start at a very young age much like Brooks and Favre before him, didn't fare nearly as well.

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