The Green Bay Packers announced on Monday that running back Michael Hill was signed off of the team’s practice squad and to the 53-man roster. Hill fills the roster spot that was vacated when the Packers released receiver/kick returner Jeremy Ross following the team’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hill spent most of this year’s training camp with the San Diego Chargers and was signed to the Packers practice squad after he was released.
Hill’s spot on the practice squad was filled by wide receiver/kick return specialist Reggie Dunn. Dunn is an undrafted rookie who reportedly ran a 4.24, 40 at his University of Utah Pro Day back in March. As a kick returner, Dunn excelled. He returned four of his 10 run backs for touchdowns and averaging just over 50 yards per return last season.
With Hill’s promotion and Dunn’s immediate signing to the practice squad to fill that spot, questions have surfaced as to which of the Packers’ injured running backs may be missing more time.
Eddie Lacy sat out the game in Cincinnati recovering from a concussion he suffered the week prior against the Washington Redskins. Fullback John Kuhn also missed this last game with a hamstring injury. During the game against the Bengals, James Starks hurt his knee in the first half and did not return. Starks was replaced by rookie Johnathan Franklin, who suffered a foot injury, but did return to action.
On Monday it was reported that both Lacy and Franklin participated in practice. Starks and Kuhn did not participate. Kuhn’s absence is likely a precaution and given that hamstring injuries are easily aggravated. It seems most likely that the Packers are preparing to be without Starks for a while.
When asked about his knee following the Bengals game, Starks said the following to Ty Dunne of the Journal-Sentinel:
“More time to heal and get right and get back to doing what I was trying to do,” Starks said on the bye week. “I’m hoping. I prayed about it. So hopefully everything goes how I want it to go. It’s God’s plan. I’ll just make the best of it. . .they’re just making sure everything is good from the swelling and everything. But it feels better than it did.”
Any time that I hear of a player praying about an injury, I have to wonder just how serious it really is. Starks had an MRI and the results have not been made known. The bye week likely had a lot to do with that but it would seem to indicate that the team is evaluating their options. This setback is another in a growing list of injuries for Starks since he joined the team in 2010. Had the Packers played this past weekend, he would not likely have been available.
Teams promote and demote players from their practice squad all the time and it would not be unheard of for the Packers to send Hill back down at some point. But given the team’s track record with promoting players from the practice squad, it would seem that they plan to keep Hill on the active roster for a while. That likely means that when we hear an update on Starks, it is not likely to be favorable.
More to come on this as the week of practice moves along.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: