Packers Send Andrew Quarless to IR, Promote Graham Harrell

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The Green Bay Packers have placed tight end Andrew Quarless on IR with a knee injury and promoted quarterback Graham Harrell to take his place on the active roster.

Quarless was hurt in the second half of the Packers’ 38-35 win over the New York Giants on Sunday. It was a horrific looking injury as Quarless’s knee buckled while attempting to cover a kickoff. Coach Mike McCarthy said that Quarless will have surgery on the knee in the coming days or weeks.

Harrell has been primarily on the Packers’ practice squad during his two years in Green Bay. After spending the first 13 games there last season, Harrell was signed to the active roster for the final three games after Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion against the Detroit Lions.

Harrell earned another chance on the practice squad with a preseason that saw him complete 33 of 57 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns.  While learning under Rodgers, Matt Flynn and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, Harrell has shown vast improvements since the Packers signed him in May of 2010.

The Packers likely promoted Harrell for a couple of reasons. They have four healthy tight ends still on the roster, so bringing on another wasn’t an immediate need. But they also likely wanted to protect Harrell from being claimed off the practice squad in the final weeks of this season, as Flynn is a good bet to leave in free agency after 2011. Flynn has shown the potential to be a starting quarterback candidate in the NFL since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. If Flynn leaves, the Packers may call on Harrell to be Rodgers’ primary backup next season.

The Packers also had to make a move to replace Harrell on the practice squad. After working out five players earlier this week, the Packers settled on guard Jake Vermiglio. An undrafted rookie free agent from North Carolina State, Vermiglio was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals this summer. Vermiglio started 32 games in college and was an All-ACC honorable mention his senior season.

UPDATE: Pete Dougherty reported that the Buffalo Bills attempted to claim Graham Harrell off the Packers practice squad, prompting the Packers to promote Harrell in an effort to keep him in Green Bay.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • Ron LC

    I think protecting Harrell is the most likely scenario. Although I was listening to Bill Michaels awhile ago and here is the latest conspiracy theory coming from the media: AR showed up late for an ESPN Radio interview and was claimed to have apologized for being late because of some treatments he was having. Of course, Michaels and others are now saying that’s why Harrell was called up.

    MM at his presser said it’s the same thing they did last year as a reward for dedication and he always wants 3 QB’s going into the Playoffs.

    Take your pick.

    • CSS

      It’s being reported that Buffalo was trying to sign Harrell, so the Packers moved to protect the developmental QB.

  • Mr. Bacon

    Graham Harrell is equivalent to a 90′s Mariano Rivera for the Yankees.

    When he gets the call-up to the team from the practice squad, its game over.

    Sure he might not get no playing time, but the sight of him in uniform strikes fear into the hearts of opposing defenses.