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Pack Gets Back To Business - The Playoffs

Sat., Dec. 28, 1996

The Green Bay Packers didn’t need their three-day Christmas break to get refreshed. But they did enjoy getting away from frozen fields and footballs for a few days.

“It was good to get a couple days off, be a normal person for a couple of days,” coach Mike Holmgren said Friday.

And what about the players?

“We had a good practice today, so I think they appreciated it,” Holmgren said. “Now, it’s time to get them to refocus and get going again.”

The Packers (13-3) earned a bye this week and own the home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Their opponent in the divisional round - San Francisco, Minnesota or Philadelphia - will be determined this weekend.

Quarterback Brett Favre said the players really needed the time off to rest their aching bodies. Yet, the trainers’ room Friday was about as quiet as the foot-deep snowfall they missed while they were away for the holiday.

“Everyone practiced today,” Holmgren said. “We’re about as healthy as you can be at this point.”

“We got guys healthy at the right time,” said split end Antonio Freeman, the NFC’s offensive player of the month for December after missing all of November with a broken forearm.

Freeman and tight end Mark Chmura, who missed three lateseason games with a torn arch, came back with such vitality their teammates call them names.

“We always mess with people like that,” said Pro Bowl tight end Keith Jackson. “We call them ‘Salad,’ because they’re fresh.”

“When I made my return and I was at practice, defensive backs had to tell me to slow down because my legs were so fresh,” said Freeman, who had 25 catches for 452 yards and four touchdowns in guiding Green Bay to a 4-0 mark this month.

“I was so happy to be back out there that I was running by those guys and they had to tell me to tone it down,” Freeman said.


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