Receivers starting over again

The heavy rain showers that greeted the Green Bay Packers on the opening day of their post-draft minicamp seemed to sum up the 2001 football season for Terry Glenn and Robert Ferguson.<p>

It was a washout for both.

The two gifted athletes, though, are relishing fresh starts and the opportunity to be Brett Favre's new starting wide receivers.

Glenn looked fast and fluid in workouts while Ferguson played with more confidence and self-assurance after struggling to grasp the offense as a rookie.

Glenn brings plenty of baggage after a turbulent season which included an NFL drug suspension, various fines for missed meetings, a legal battle with the New England Patriots and finally a team suspension.

However, all Glenn brought to the Packers in the minicamp was boundless enthusiasm over the chance to play with Favre. He sounded more like a wide-eyed rookie than a seven-year pro when talking about snagging bullets from the three-time MVP.

"I was kind of amazed I was out there catching balls from Brett Favre," said Glenn. "That was a thrill. I have to get over that and start feeling like he's a football player. But it's been everything I always thought it was going to be. He's the joking Brett Favre, cracking jokes in the huddle that everyone told me he was."

Glenn seems determined to put the 2001 season in his rear-view mirror and resurrect a career which stalled last season following six productive seasons.

"I'm very excited about my role and the young receivers here," he said. "I feel very accepted. I'm happy and very determined. I went through a lot last year and I accept what happened. I'm just looking forward to putting it behind me. The best way to do that is to play great and stay focused off the field, which I really didn't think I had a problem with."

Glenn will play Green Bay's featured flanker position where the Packers traditionally place their top playmaker. They're counting on Glenn to quickly emerge as their go-to receiver. To get up to speed with the Packer offense, the fleet Glenn has participated in the team's voluntary workout program since it began in late March.

"I don't have a job per se yet, I have to go out and earn it because there's lots of hungry guys here who want a job, who want my job," said Glenn. "I've got to get used to Brett and how the ball comes out, and get the offense down. It shouldn't take too long. By the next minicamp I'll be ready. But it's been a little like learning a foreign language. In New England, we used a lot of words. Here it's a lot of numbers and words, and just getting used to Brett's cadence is different because he does it pretty fast."

‘Night and day' for Ferguson

Meanwhile, Ferguson, a second-round pick in 2001 who barely played as a rookie, seems to have benefited enormously from working closely with the Packer staff over the winter. He has been taking the initiative following practices to join a few other receivers in catching several balls from the pass-flinging JUGGS machine. Ferguson is expected to win the starting split end job, although first-round pick Javon Walker could challenge him.

"It's night and day from now to where he was last year at this time – when he wasn't sure of anything," said offensive coordinator Tom Rossley. "He's playing with confidence now. You can just tell it by how he lines up. A year ago, he wouldn't go over to the JUGGS machine because no one told him to do it. Now he's there on his own and is conducting himself like a veteran."

In a perfect Packer scenario, Ferguson and Glenn will be able to hold down the starting receiving jobs while Walker is developed as the No. 3 receiver.

"Fergy's been working tirelessly in the weight room all off-season and he's in great shape," said Sherman. "He's really pushed himself. He'll be a better player because of what he went through last year. Mentally, he's just a much better player right now assignment-wise."

Ferguson's upgrade in physical conditioning was mandatory following an injury-riddled rookie season. His missed Green Bay's 2001 June minicamp because of a back injury. He suffered a concussion in the team's final preseason game against Oakland, and had hamstring trouble throughout the year.

"Last year, the big thing I learned is that I have to be healthy," said Ferguson. "That's the only thing I have to do. I have a lot of confidence in myself and I think you have to have that in this league."

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