'Gravedigger', Veteran TE Back in Mix

Nose tackle Gilbert Brown and tight end Tyrone Davis will be back with the Green Bay Packers for at least one more season. Brown agreed to terms of a contract on Tuesday and Davis signed a one-year deal.<p>

Both were expected to participate in the week's minicamp practices, which begin today.

Brown is entering his ninth season with the Packers. He has started six seasons sandwiched around a year hiatus from football during the 2000 season.

"He's anxious to get started," said Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman.

Brown, 31, had 33 tackles, including 25 solos, last year. He had his most productive year in 1996 with 36 stops, playing a significant role in the Packers' drive to a Super Bowl championship.

But he gained weight and ballooned to around 400 pounds during the 1999 season, suffering nagging injuries along the way. After sitting out for a year, he trained under the guidance of a former coach at the University of Kansas and played around 340 pounds last year.

Davis, hampered by a severe hamstring injury that required surgery, spent a good share of the '01 season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Activated late in the year, he played in four of the last six regular-season games, starting twice. But he gained weight during the time that he was off and played at around 275 pounds.

Sherman said Davis reported this week at 263 pounds and is in much better condition.

"He was probably 276 at this time last year, (which) certainly in my mind contributed to his injury," Sherman said. "He's played very well at 260, 265 and, hey, he's here."

Davis, 29, is entering his seventh season.

Both Brown and Davis were expected to sign for the league minimum of $650,000, of which $450,000 will count against the salary cap because of a veteran's exemption agreed to last year.

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