Veteran linebacker to visit Green Bay

Free agent Hardy Nickerson is expected to visit Green Bay today or Friday, according to reports. The Packers are one of a handful of teams in the league that have shown interest in the middle linebacker.

Nickerson has drawn interest from Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and New England. He has played in the league for 15 years, the last two with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He'll turn 37 on Sept. 1. He is expected to command a contract of around $1 million per year with a signing bonus of around $250,000.

"He's someone we played against for so long and I've always admired his work ethic and his speed and professionalism he's displayed," said Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman. "He could help us."

Andrew Brandt, Green Bay's vice president of player finance and negotiator, has been in touch with Nickerson's agents, Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes. The two sides reportedly have lined up a visit for this week.

The Packers recently signed veteran linebacker Robert Jones to compete with second-year pro Torrance Marshall at middle linebacker. Jones, 32, also has the ability to play outside linebacker, but has mainly played inside.

Nickerson is a five-time Pro Bowl selection. He played his first six years in the league (1987-92) with the Pittsburgh Steelers, then the next seven with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"He has more fun than anybody," said Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin. "He always goes out to the practice field with a smile on his face, and that rubs off on the other players."

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