Nickerson likes what he sees

The typical Green Bay training camp crowd let linebacker Hardy Nickerson know that he made the right decision.<p>

Nickerson cited the Packers' renowned fans as one of the reasons he chose Green Bay as a free agent last month. When the time came to suit up, he had to see it to believe it.

"This is definitely not what I'm used to," Nickerson said of the 3,000-plus fans lining Oneida Street fence along Clark Hinkle Field. "This is a treat, this is something special . . . It's almost like a game atmosphere out here."

The 37-year old veteran admitted that he had a hard time sleeping the night before his training camp debut.

"I kind of feel like a rookie all over again," said Nickerson, who is beginning his 16th NFL campaign.

Nickerson was already a marquee name in Green Bay as soon as he inked with the Packers. His role gained even more importance after the retirement of vocal team and defensive leader LeRoy Butler.

"Leaders are people who come out every day and prove themselves to their teammates," he said. "First and foremost I have to prove to my teammates that I belong . . . That's my mindset and that's what this training camp is all about for me, coming in and proving to the guys that, hey, I can play and I'm here to help out."

Nickerson, who tallied a franchise-record 230 tackles for Jacksonville last year, buoys a resurgent middle linebacker position. Previously decimated by injury, this is now a group to watch thanks to not only the signing of Nickerson, but also to the emergence of Torrance Marshall.

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