Thursday, March 13, 2003

Luchey ready to start winning


Former Bengals likes prospects in Green Bay

The Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Nick Luchey is ready to start winning with Green Bay after four losing seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. The new Packer fullback was en route to Las Vegas on Wednesday after completing contract details with his new team.

"I've always been a winner. I've never been a guy who has been accustomed to losing, and I never will," explained Luchey, as he waited to board a plane in Washington, D.C., in the late afternoon.

The Packers finalized a six-year, approximately $6 million contract after they had come to terms with the unrestricted free agent from hapless Cincinnati on Saturday.

Luchey, who turns 26 March 30, said the perpetual losing he endured in four seasons with the Bengals weighed heavily in his decision to relocate.

The Packers haven't had a sub-.500 record in the past 12 years.

The Bengals haven't finished above .500 since they were 9-7 and last made the playoffs in 1990. They were 16-48 during Luchey's stay, including a league-worst 2-14 last season.

So, although the Packers didn't guarantee him the starter's role that was to be had in Cincinnati, he felt Green Bay is the place to be. Luchey also visited Cleveland and had interest from Philadelphia.

"I have nothing but love for the city of Cincinnati and the organization," said Luchey, "but as far as my future and my present career, I wanted to be somewhere where I can have a realistic chance of going to the Super Bowl.

"Winning a Super Bowl is tremendously high on my list of goals, and I'm ready to work for the Super Bowl now."

Luchey is the second fullback to bolt the Bengals in the first two weeks of the free-agent signing period.

All-Pro Lorenzo Neal, whom Luchey would have replaced in the lineup, signed with San Diego.

Luchey played in 45 games and made nine starts with the Bengals, who drafted him in the fifth round in 1999 out of Miami (Fla.) where he was a teammate of Packers tight end Bubba Franks and Najeh Davenport, who will be switched from fullback to No. 2 halfback behind Ahman Green.

The Packers envision the burly, versatile Luchey as their successor to veteran William Henderson.

Luchey could compete for the lead role in the preseason with Henderson, who is 32 and under contract for three more years.

Luchey downplayed that possibility, saying only the Packers conveyed to him during his visit last week that they want him to "open up the offense a little bit."

"They felt I could add another dimension and take some pressure off Ahman and (quarterback) Brett (Favre)," Luchey said.

Luchey's involvement with the Bengals entailed more than blocking for All-Pro halfback Corey Dillon.

He's averaged 4.5 yards in 32 career carries, including 12 rushes for 59 yards and two touchdowns when he took over as the Bengals' lead back in their upset win over New Orleans on Dec. 22.

The Bengals also utilized him as a tight end, and he caught 24 passes for an average of 9.4 yards.

Most of all, the 6-foot-1 Luchey will bring what he termed a "physical" presence to the Packers.

He's on the heavy side at 280 pounds, but he plans to enter training camp in July at 270.

Luchey has recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that cut into most of the 2001 season.

He also has a renewed outlook on life, having legally changed his surname from Williams to that of his deceased biological father, James Luchey, last summer.




TODAY'S BASKETBALL GAMES
Scores and game wrap-ups

UC BASKETBALL
Bearcats blindsided by Southern Miss
DAUGHERTY: Committee holds UC's fate
Like Mardi Gras for Southern Miss
Other Conference USA games
C-USA Tournament Glance
Marquette's Wade C-USA player of year

XAVIER BASKETBALL
XU right at home in UD Arena
West again A-10 player of year
Dayton finally gets to play

MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL
For Miami, first things first
Does UK need to lose?
UK sweeps SEC coaches' honors
Big East: St. John's trips Notre Dame
Wagner wins Northeast berth
Weber St. to represent Big Sky
Georgia players sue school

BENGALS-NFL
Bengals clearing path for Palmer
TE Kelly first addition to Bengals' offense
Playoffs Spikes' top priority in Buffalo
Blake steps into Arizona QB job
Luchey ready to start winning
NFL minorities organize
Raiders sign ex-49er Stubblefield
Officiating mistakes lead to dismissals

REDS-BASEBALL
Manzanillo could land in bullpen
Reds Notebook: Wilson's debut delayed
Yankees 10, Reds 5
Schott hospitalized again
Piazza charges mound after plunking
Other spring training games
Spring Training Standings
Bonds' ball dispute settled
Baseball Notebook: Ex-Red may have cancer

GOLF
Arnie and Jack stage final go-round

TENNIS
Roddick rides serve to second-round win

HIGH SCHOOLS
Today's basketball schedule
NCH girls carry city banner to state
6-8 Clemons leads Reading to final
Madeira's surprise run ends
Middletown dumps boys basketball coach
Ky. Games: Holy Cross, Boone, Brossart advance

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