Robert Ferguson, WR
(6010, 210, 4.43-4.55) Texas A&M
Notes: Born Robert Charles Ferguson, 12/17/79, in Houston, Tex. High School All-American who played free safety and wide receiver at Spring Woods High School in Houston, where he was a four-time letter winner. Was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Houston Touchdown Club as a 1997 senior, when he made 96 tackles and six interceptions. Also caught 32 passes for 999 yards and five touchdowns during his final prep season. Won all-district and All-Greater Houston recognition on both sides of the ball. Also earned four letters for the school's basketball team, capturing district and city honors. Nicknamed “Dad” and “Ferg.” Wife’s name is Tiffany; they have two daughters, Paris and Teahja. Also has another daughter, Auryon. Has split residence in Green Bay and Houston. Was active in the community with the Packers.
College: Originally signed with Texas A&M but did not meet all the academic requirements so he began his college career at Tyler (Texas) Junior College (1998-99). Initially spent time at cornerback and linebacker during his first year at the junior college level (1998) before shifting to wide receiver; still was the team leader in receptions with 47 for 598 yards and seven touchdowns. Totaled 90 receptions for 1,181 yards (13.1 avg.) and 12 touchdowns at Tyler J.C. Played one season of Division I football - at Texas A&M in 2000 - before electing to turn pro after his junior year. Led the Big 12 in receptions (58), set the A&M single-season record for yards receiving (885) and garnered unanimous first-team all-conference recognition in his one year with the Aggies.
Pro: Second-round pick (41st overall) by Green Bay in 2001. Played in just one game as a rookie and was frequently inactive with various injuries. Played in all 16 games (starting one) in 2002 and caught 22 passes for 293 yards (13.3 avg.) and 3 touchdowns. Started 12 of 15 games in 2003, catching 38-520-4 (13.7 avg.); missed time with knee, ankle, concussion and Achilles’ tendon injuries. Added another 5-73-2 in two playoff games. Signed a five-year contract extension in June 2004 worth $10.87 million, including a $3.5 million signing bonus. In 2004, he started 5 of 13 games played and caught 24-367-1 (15.3 avg.); also returned kickoffs 21-526 (25.0); was injured after catching a 31-yard pass near midfield, holding onto the ball despite a forearm clothesline hit (photo, photo) by Jaguars safety Donovin Darius (who later was fined $75,000 by the NFL for the illegal play), was carted off the field and taken by ambulance to Bellin Hospital in Green Bay. Sensation and movement existed in all four extremities by Monday; was eventually released on Tuesday. Underwent Lasik eye surgery and now possesses 20/15 vision; constant headaches also improved after the procedure. Caught 27-366-3 (13.6 avg.) in 2005 while starting 7 of 11 games; finished the season on IR with a knee injury. Had one start and played in four games last season, catching 5-31-1 before landing on IR with a serious foot injury. Practicing once-per-day in training camp with Green Bay this summer, the Packers are committed to Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and rookies James Jones and David Clowney for the future and subsequently released Ferguson (Aug. 17), who was scheduled to make $1.8 million in 2007 and $2.2 million in 2008. “Robert will no longer be a Packer,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “We're going to go another direction.”
Positives: If healthy, Ferguson is a tremendous athlete with nice size and deceptive speed. He can get downfield and make big plays. He catches the ball well. He’s a tough, jack-of-all-trades receiver and a very effective underneath, run-after-the-catch receiver, and an excellent downfield blocker. He has excelled as a special-teams cover man in the past and can return kickoffs. Despite a lack of durability, he has shown impressive toughness and has played through many injuries over the course of his career and is a tough, physical, competitive player when he’s on the field.
Negatives: Has had numerous injuries throughout his NFL career and has really struggled to stay healthy. Still may not be 100% from foot injury last season. Lacks concentration and will drop passes at times. Like just about any talented receiver, he has been known to sulk in the past if he didn’t get the ball often enough.
Summary: Talented and productive player when healthy, which has not been often throughout his career. However, he has more NFL experience than any other receiver the Vikings have, can return kickoffs and is already familiar with the West Coast Offense the Vikings run. No sure thing, but if healthy, he probably has more to offer than Billy McMullen, Cortez Hankton or Martin Nance. However, that’s a big if.