Fisher fights his way onto roster

The skill positions – with the obvious exception of quarterback – provided Packer coach Mike Sherman some of his toughest decisions on the roster this preseason. Two unknowns battled their way past veterans with bigger names and better histories to earn a job.<p> Today: A look at running back Tony Fisher. Tuesday: Receiver Karsten Bailey.<p>

Running back Tony Fisher was the story of camp, mentioned in Sherman's post-practice "highlights" almost every day. Not only did he beat high odds as an undrafted free-agent; he beat astromical odds for a player who didn't show up for the June minicamp.

"If I had to pick a guy… you know, he missed the minicamp in June, which is not a good omen for the skills players in our offense," Sherman said. "I remember him coming to camp and Sly - Sylvester Croom - who does a great job of coaching those guys I have to give him credit for developing that young player. He challenged him on a daily basis, challenged his manhood at times. The kid responded."

Fisher parlayed his head-turning practice performances into results on the preseason playing field. He was the leading rusher in the first preseason game, with 9 carries for 55 yards. His 28-yard burst provided a glimpse of what he could do. Fisher had four carries for 20 yards at Arizona, 6 for 27 vs. the Browns and finished with a 7 for 19 performance Friday in the win over Tennessee.

The rookie free agent out of Notre Dame quickly established himself. That gave much-needed peace of mind to Sherman. The coach was facing injury problems with Ki-jana Carter and Herbert "Whisper" Goodman, who already had two years of Packer experience under his belt.

"The running back position intially was one of great concern of mine, but that kind of worked itself out."

In the end, Fisher proved better able to overcome obstacles than Carter or Goodman, not to mention Jason Brookins, whose bizarre camp exit will be long remembered.

Fisher had missed quite a bit … he back came into camp and he had to stay healthy or he was history," Sherman said. "And well, he stayed healthy, when he had injuries he fought through it. He really earned a spot on this team. It's a great story. I think he got better every day. Again, I credit Sylvester Croom for developing an unknown player.

"(Fisher)came from nowhere to compete against the likes of Ki-jana Carter who was a first round pick, and Brookins. He held his own," Sherman said. "He caught the ball extremely well, continued to improve at every practice, showed that he can protect the quarterback. Hard, physical down-hill runner. We had a number of calls about him. So, if we had let him go, he would have been scooped up by somebody, that's for sure."


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