News is all good for Hunt

Packers defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt is right where he wants to be with as a starting defensive tackle. Now he's working to make sure he stays there.<p>

Known primarily for his ability to stuff the run, Hunt has worked during the offseason and camps to strengthen his pass-rushing skills.

"If we can turn him into a dominant pass rusher, there's no telling how good he can be," defensive line coach Jethro Franklin said.

Hunt had five sacks in 2000, but none last year, although he did compile more than a handful of hurries and QB hits.

"It's my year, so I'm going to give it to them and let them know what I'm about: make plays, make big plays, and get to the quarterback a hell of a lot more than I did in the past.

"I have all this training camp and preseason to work on it," Hunt said. "I can go out and get better."

The Packers demonstrated their confidence in Hunt when they waived veteran Santana Dotson. Hunt now assumes his part in an awesome line, joining Gilbert Brown and tackle and Vonnie Holliday and Joe Johnson on the ends. That combination has Hunt licking his chops over the opportunities it gives him as a run-stuffer.

"When I crush the guard and push him back into the backfield and make the back change his line, teams are going to look at that," Hunt said.

Hunt has come a long way to reach this goal. The Packers picked Hunt with their second pick of the third round out of Division-2 Kentucky State in 1999. After starting one game and playing in 11 as a rookie, Hunt picked up the pace in 2000 when he saw action in all 16 games with 11 starts.

He was derailed for a time in 2001, when he served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. When he returned, Hunt was stronger and hungrier than ever, but took him awhile to get back in synch. Now the rhythm has returned, and the desire hasn't let up, he said.

"I'm eager to get out there and start it off at the time I'm supposed to start it off," he said. "I hope fans say, 'Hey, we miss Santana, but Cletidus is stepping in there and he's destroying the guy.

"It's another year. I'm smarter, quicker and stronger. So, how are they going to block me? That's what I'm going to make them start thinking when they watch film."

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