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Driver Still in Hospital With Neck Injury

September 9, 2003

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ Donald Driver remained in the hospital on Monday following the receiver’s scary neck injury in the Green Bay Packers’ season opener.

Driver’s release from Bellin Hospital was delayed until Tuesday after he vomited during the night Sunday, an indication of a possible concussion, coach Mike Sherman said.

Sherman said Driver had a ``very severely sprained neck″ and probably won’t play this Sunday against Detroit.

Green Bay lost three of its top four wideouts in its defeat to Minnesota on Sunday. Robert Ferguson (ankle, knee) and Karsten Bailey (hamstring) also were stricken.

Driver got hurt when he went up for a high pass in the fourth quarter and landed face first. Ferguson got hurt moments later when he was met at the goal line by two defenders.

Ferguson admitted he was still thinking about Driver on the play.

``I was thinking, `I’m going to score this one for him,‴ Ferguson said. ``Maybe if I wasn’t thinking about him, I would (have) run out of bounds.″

Ferguson has a mildly sprained right knee but his ankle injury could be serious, and Bailey is unlikely to play this week.

Now, it’s not far-fetched to think that Antonio Freeman could be back in green and gold.

The former Green Bay flanker who caught 57 touchdown passes from Brett Favre between 1995-2001 is looking for work. The Packers are looking for a receiver with experience in the West Coast offense.

So, the Packers are scouring the free agent market that includes Freeman, who arrived in Green Bay for a visit Monday night.

``Obviously, there’s a great history between Free and the Packers, and hopefully there can be a great future,″ said Freeman’s agent, Joel Segal.

Freeman already is counting $4.3 million against the Packers’ salary cap this season. He was released after the 2001 season in the middle of a seven-year, $42 million contract that included a $10 million signing bonus.

If Freeman were to sign a deal for the veteran’s minimum, he would count another $475,000 against the Packers’ cap.

By the time Freeman and the Packers parted ways, his relationship with Sherman had deteriorated. But Sherman said that wouldn’t prevent a reunion if Freeman’s the best option.

``I have no problem with Antonio,″ Sherman said.

Other receivers available include MarTay Jenkins, Jacquez Green, Troy Edwards, James Jett, Dedric Ward and Charles Lee. But Freeman is clearly the choice when it comes to knowledge of the Packers’ offense.

``He’s a playmaker that maybe doesn’t have the speed that he once had, but he’s still a real crafty guy that has a good feel for coverage and finding a void,″ offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said.

``And Brett knows him and he knows Brett, so that’s a plus.″

Receivers coach Ray Sherman said he wasn’t concerned that Freeman hasn’t practiced in eight months. Freeman skipped training camp last summer and still had a solid season in Philadelphia.

``He’s a veteran, he’s been around. And I’m sure he’s doing everything necessary to keep himself in shape,″ Ray Sherman said.

Javon Walker, who caught five passes for 84 yards and a touchdown Sunday, will be the team’s No. 1 receiver if both Driver and Ferguson are out against Detroit and the No. 2 receiver if one of them plays.

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