St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Chambers can prove his point face-to-face

Miami receiver felt slighted last year when the Packers passed on him in the draft after he starred at Wisconsin. He returns from a concussion.

©Associated Press

November 4, 2002


Miami receiver felt slighted last year when the Packers passed on him in the draft after he starred at Wisconsin. He returns from a concussion.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Tonight's showdown between division leaders Miami and Green Bay is special for Chris Chambers.

The second-year receiver returns to the Dolphins lineup after an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit from Denver strong safety Kenoy Kennedy on Oct.13 gave a concussion.

It's also the first time he'll team up with Cris Carter, who came out of retirement after Oronde Gadsden was lost for the season with a wrist injury.

"Right now I have to help him a little more than he does me," Chambers said.

Carter added: "Of course he is going to learn some things because I have seen pretty much everything out there."

Except a championship.

The Dolphins could make their biggest statement yet toward that goal by beating the Packers at chilly Lambeau Field.

This is the first trip back to Wisconsin for Chambers, a former Badgers star who thought he'd play his pro career in Green Bay.

But the Packers drafted receiver Robert Ferguson of Texas A&M and Miami took Chambers in the second round.

"I felt I had a great workout," Chambers said. "I was in school for four years, they had an opportunity to see me play probably every game that I (played) in college, and I guess that wasn't enough."

Chambers said the slight helped fuel his rookie season, when he had 48 receptions for 883 yards and seven touchdowns -- better numbers than any of the nine receivers selected ahead of him.

"I felt like I had something to prove and I went out there with a little chip on my shoulder," Chambers said. "But right now I'm a lot more comfortable and a lot better and I understand a lot of things right now. It doesn't bother me like it did last year."

This season, Chambers has 23 catches for 290 yards and two scores.

Ferguson, who didn't catch a pass last season, was anointed a starter in the offseason, but he was bypassed by Terry Glenn, Donald Driver and rookie Javon Walker on the depth chart and has nine catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.

"I think he's playing a very good role for us and doing what we ask him to do," Packers coach Mike Sherman said of Ferguson.

Chambers doesn't figure it will take him long to get re-acclimated to the Wisconsin weather with the forecast for clouds and highs in the 20s.

Dolphins running back Ricky Williams isn't worried about it either.

"I've never played in cold weather before, so I don't know" how to feel about it, Williams said.

Packers quarterback Brett Favre does. He is 32-0 at home when the temperature at kickoff is 34 degrees or below. Despite a sprained left knee, Favre is planning to make his 165th consecutive regular-season start, a record for quarterbacks and the longest active streak by any player.

Favre was hurt Oct. 20 when Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington sacked him. The Packers were idle last week, which gave Favre time to heal.

Sherman said Favre's mobility was restricted this week because he had the knee heavily taped and wore a brace. Favre will wear only the brace tonight.

Dolphins (5-2) at Packers (6-1)

OF NOTE: Is Packers QB Brett Favre 100 percent? His status largely will determine the outcome. If he's healthy, the Fins are in for a long night. Then again, it won't matter if Fins QB Ray Lucas plays as badly as he did against the Bills (13 of 33 for 165 yards and four INTs). Miami's only hope is that RB Ricky Williams has a big night to take the pressure off Lucas. That's actually pretty likely because the Packers are 25th in the league against the run. If Williams goes over 125 yards, the Fins have a chance, albeit a small one.

DARRELL FRY'S PROMISE: Packers 23, Dolphins 16.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.