Jackson eager for second chance

Updated: November 6, 2003, 7:58 PM ET
ESPN

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Defensive tackle Grady Jackson arrived in Green Bay eager to put his troubled past behind him.

Still, he couldn't help but look back Thursday and wonder whether he should have chosen Green Bay over New Orleans in the first place.

After five seasons in Oakland, Jackson was a free agent last year and decided to play closer to his family in the South.

"But now I wish I would have chosen here, because this is a great place," Jackson said. "Great community. Just riding around yesterday, looking around the community, I thought this probably is the best place for me now.

"I feel like this is where I should have been all along."

Jackson is determined to make the most of his second chance.

The Packers signed the talented but troubled lineman this week after he was cut by the Saints, who were unhappy with his weight, which is pushing 370, and his attitude.

Coach Mike Sherman said he's giving Jackson a clean slate and plans on playing him Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I talked to him when I got in," Jackson said. "He said, 'Whatever happened with the Saints, let it be.' There ain't nothing to say about it. I'm here now."

Jackson was suspended without pay for failing to report to the team hotel for a home game against Carolina two weeks ago. He didn't play in that game because of an injury to the small finger of his left hand, which required surgery to reattach a ligament.

Saints coach Jim Haslett, who already was miffed that Jackson skipped offseason workouts in New Orleans because of personal problems, was upset Jackson chose to sit out against the Panthers rather than playing with the injury.

So he cut ties with him on Tuesday, which was fortunate for Green Bay.

The Packers' defensive line has been their biggest disappointment, and Rod Walker (shoulder, knee) joined Joe Johnson and James Lee on injured reserve this week.

The Packers were thrilled to sign the seventh-year veteran who registered 85 tackles and nine sacks in 1{ seasons with the Saints.

Jackson, who said his finger was fine, was confused a couple of times at his first practice, problems he blamed on the difference in the teams' terminology.

"I'll get it right by Monday night," Jackson promised.

Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said the hiccups were expected: "There's going to be some stuff, but he just got in this morning, so that can be ironed out."

First impressions were overall positive.

"He's a big, strong guy with some quickness," Donatell said. "He'll just need to keep working on his conditioning."

Still, Jackson has 3{ sacks so far, which Donatell noted was more than any of the Packers' other defensive tackles.

The Packers are hoping Jackson's arrival can help fix a major flaw much like wideout Andre Rison did in 1996, when he fell into their laps at midseason and helped them win the Super Bowl.

"I don't know too much about the problems," Jackson said of Green Bay's weak pass rush. "But, whatever the problem is, I hope I can be a part of fixing it."

Even though Jackson said his stormy stint in New Orleans was history, he said he was bent on proving the Saints wrong.

"Come this Monday night, that's what I plan on doing," he said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE NFL HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM