Another "the next Mike Vrabel" Candidate

Imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery. What does it mean when sportswriters keep comparing rookies a certain Pro Bowler? The veteran is a super star? Here's one more player who is supposedly "the next Mike Vrabel."

The Packers could have the second coming of Mike Vrabel on their hands.

In a move favored by the player himself, the Packers began experimenting with backup linebacker Spencer Havner as a tight end in organized team activities June 16.

Havner will remain at tight end for the team's minicamp, June 22-24, and then work at both positions when training camp commences Aug. 1.

"Coach (Mike) McCarthy said it was just a way to create an opportunity," Havner said. "I've got to fit in somewhere. He said they just don't keep special teams guys, they've got to be able to fit in somewhere. If I can fit in as backup tight end, as backup linebacker, that's valuable to them, I suppose."

Havner hasn't been a two-way player since his final year of high school football in Grass Valley, Calif., in 2000. However, he worked some at tight end in practice during college at UCLA and also was deployed at the position on the scout team with the Packers as a member of their practice squad the last three years.

"He has shown the ability to play tight end, in our opinion, in this league," McCarthy said. "So, to increase his value on our football team, we're going to give him the opportunity to train both at tight end and at linebacker."

Havner, who was originally signed as an undrafted rookie by the Washington Redskins in 2006, made his belated NFL playing debut late last season. The Packers promoted him from the practice squad for the final four games after the rival Chicago Bears expressed an interest in signing him. Havner stood out on special teams with three tackles.

The Packers' switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme prompted the movement of defensive ends Aaron Kampman and Jeremy Thompson to outside linebacker. The team also added two linebackers in the draft, including first-round choice Clay Matthews.

As such, Havner knew his chances of staying on the 53-man roster for the start of next season would be difficult as a linebacker.

"We have so many linebackers. You can't keep 20 of us," he said.

The 6-foot-3 Havner, who weighed 248 pounds during the OTAs, said he won't need to put on weight to make the transition to tight end, where the Packers lack depth behind incumbent starter Donald Lee and promising young player Jermichael Finley.

Havner can look to Vrabel as someone who has carved a niche as a productive two-way player. Vrabel, a natural linebacker, was inserted as a tight end in goal-line situations with the New England Patriots and will do the same with the Kansas City Chiefs, who acquired him, along with quarterback Matt Cassel, in a trade this offseason.

"I'm excited about it. I think it's going to be a good opportunity," Havner said. "I'm just going to have to make the best of it and see where it takes me."

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