GREEN BAY, Wis. (WTAQ) - Trimming the Green Bay Packers roster down to the requisite 53 wasn't easy. That's the message from GM Ted Thompson, who for the 5th straight season, managed to put the green and gold as the youngest team in the NFL.
Barring any further roster changes before the Packers season-opener Sunday in Philadelphia, the team has an average age of 25.87 years. Last season, the Packers average age to start the year was 25.7.
Thompson's roster contains mostly home-grown players. Currently of the 53 man roster, 36 of them were drafted by the Packers. Out of the remaining 17, 3 are undrafted rookie free agents - cornerback Sam Shields, linebacker Frank Zombo and offensive lineman Nick McDonald.
Thompson has drafted 58 players, and 31 are on the current roster. 4 of his draft picks were among the players let go Saturday: Offensive lineman Breno Giacomini and defensive end Jarius Wynn were waived, while returner Will Blackmon and offensive lineman Allen Barbre received injury settlements and will be waived off of injured reserve when the settlements expire.
Meantime, 5 of the players cut have landed with other teams. Sources tell the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that running back Kregg Lumpkin was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Bucs, linebacker Cyril Obiozor by the Arizona Cardinals, linebacker/tight end Spencer Havner by the Detroit Lions, defensive lineman Anthony Toribio by the Kansas City Chiefs and center Evan Dietrich-Smith by the Seattle Seahawks.
The Packers Monday announced the signings of 8 plays to the practice squad: tackle Chris Campbell, linebacker Robert Francois, tackle Breno Giacomini, quarterback Graham Harrell, running back James Johnson, safety Anthony Levine, linebacker Maurice Simpkins and wide receiver Chastin West.
A 5-foot-11, 207-pound first-year player out of Kansas State, Johnson entered the NFL as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 with the Cincinnati Bengals. He played in four games in ’08 for Cincinnati, spent time on the Bengals’ practice squad in 2008 and 2009, and was with Cincinnati during the preseason this year. Johnson also was with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason. He will wear No. 39.