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THE NFL / 1996

One-Armed Man Helps Out Packers

December 02, 1996|From Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Antonio Freeman made up for his missed month in a hurry.

Freeman returned to Green Bay's lineup Sunday after sitting out four games because of a broken left arm and set career highs with 10 receptions for 156 yards in the Packers' 28-17 victory over Chicago.

"He's doing it with one arm and he's faster than I've ever seen him," teammate LeRoy Butler said.

For a month, it was the Packer offense, decimated by injuries, which seemed to play with only one arm.

The Packers (10-3), who beat the Bears for the sixth consecutive time, have never lost a December game in Green Bay during Coach Mike Holmgren's five seasons. The Bears (5-8) remained winless on the road in the regular season in December since 1987.

Despite playing with a cumbersome cast, Freeman provided Brett Favre with the deep threat he sorely missed in November.

"Early on in the week Brett was really excited about my return," Freeman said. "He told me we were going to have a coming-back party and that's what we did."

Freeman fumbled after his first catch when he was hit hard by strong safety Marty Carter, but the Packers recovered and so did Freeman.

"When you come back from an injury, you always need that first hit to get you going," Freeman said. "That was the first hit and I knew what I had to do after that."

Favre said he never gave Freeman's fumble a second thought. "The guy made a pretty good hit on him, and he's got a cast on," Favre said. "I wasn't worried at all."

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