Nickerson, Packers meet and talk

Free agent middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson looked on as the Green Bay Packers practiced Thursday. The veteran had a "good visit," but did not sign a contract and is in Philadelphia to meet with the Eagles today.

"We're talking," said Packers' negotiator Andrew Brandt.

Brandt indicated in news reports that Nickerson will decide on where he wants to play "within the next couple of weeks."

The Packers are hoping to sign Nickerson to bolster their linebacker corps. Second-year pro Torrance Marshall is the starter at middle linebacker. The team recently signed vetearn Robert Jones to compete with Marshall.

"People have asked if I am afraid of him coming in and I have said no, because I can't control it," Jones said. "Green Bay is trying to get the best players in here to compete, to get the best players on the field."

Nickerson, who will turn 37 on Sept. 1, is likely seeking a contract in the neighborhood of $1 million per season. Nickerson got a $750,000 going away present from the Jacksonville Jaguars. That was the portion of his base salary that was guaranteed and had to be paid when he was released June 3. When he signed as an unrestricted free agent with Jacksonville in 2000, he received a four-year deal that averaged $1 million a year and included a $3.2 million signing bonus.

Nickerson had 117 tackles last year for Jacksonville.

In 2000, he played in only six games before going on injured reserve with a knee injury, but he returned to play in 15 games in 2001. Nickerson, who spent the previous 13 years with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, had a personal-best three interceptions in 2001.

"He knows how to win," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre. "He's won in the past. He's always been a thorn in our side. He's a guy you enjoy playing against because you have to raise your level of play. Very instinctive. Smart. Like I said, he still can play. I would love to have him. ... Automatically, I think it would make our defense much better."

Packer Report Top Stories