On the comeback trail

"Gravedigger" hoping to extend his NFL career

As much as Javon Walker wants out of Green Bay, former nose tackle Gilbert Brown is just the opposite. "The Gravedigger" would relish the opportunity to return to the Packers. While he realizes it's a long shot at re-signing with the Packers, or any NFL team, Brown isn't about to give up. He feels he is rested and ready to go again in the trenches.

"I think if I can get on somebody's team, I think I can be a great fit for them," Brown said. "I just want to get out there and play."

Brown, who turned 35 in February, hasn't played football since the 2003 season. He was released by the Packers in March of 2004 after 10 seasons in Green Bay. "The Gravedigger," as he is affectionately known by Packers fans, had a tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs last October, but that is as close as he has come to making an NFL roster since he was released by the Packers.

Brown insists that he can still contribute in a positive way on the field and especially in the locker room with younger players.

"They've got a great coach, great staff," said Brown. "If I can get in there and help these young guys … I mean when me and Santana (Dotson) was in there, and Reggie (White) and Sean (Jones), they told us certain things that a coach can't teach them. I think I can do that for these young guys."

Packers fans no doubt would welcome Brown back to the team, but his chances of returning are realistically non-existent. General manager Ted Thompson is in the process of revamping the roster with younger talent. The Packers signed unrestricted free agent Ryan Pickett to a four-year, $14 million deal in March and are not expected to re-sign Grady Jackson, who is two years younger than Brown. The team also has a number of up-and-coming defensive tackles like Colin Cole, Corey Williams and Cullen Jenkins that will be pushing for playing time.

Brown says he has let the Packers and other teams know of his desire to return. He is hoping to get a few tryouts this summer prior to the start of training camp.

"I'd love to do it here," Brown said, speaking to a few reporters at the recent Fan Fest. "I always tell myself, from tackle to tackle ain't nobody that can mess with me."

Brown said the two years off actually has helped his body to heal, which has left him "itching" to play.

"It's just getting the rust off and getting back in there," Brown said.


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