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Packers Sign LB James Crawford

The Packers have signed LB James Crawford. The transaction was announced Wednesday by General Manager Brian Gutekunst.

Crawford, a 6-foot-2, 239-pound rookie, played in 36 games during four seasons at the University of Illinois, recording 80 tackles (39 solo), 10.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and six passes defensed. He served as a team captain as a senior and was named All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches. Crawford will wear No. 54 for the Packers.

Packers LB Jake Ryan Suffers Serious Injury, Safety Kentrell Brice Also Injured at Camp

Blake Martinez gathered his fellow inside linebackers together after a tough day at Green Bay Packers practice.

It’s difficult to see two key members of the defense go down with injuries on just the fourth day of training camp.

Inside linebacker Jake Ryan, one of the team’s top run defenders, was carted off the field late in practice Monday with an apparent right leg injury. Kentrell Brice, a potential starter at safety, was carted off the field during a special teams drill, though the type of injury was unclear.

“Oh, man. That was bad, man. You hate to see that, especially as a player. That’s your brother,” safety Josh Jones said when asked about Brice.

Practice ended up being cut short early because of the threat of lightning. The injuries dampened the mood in the locker room.

Back inside Lambeau Field, Martinez gathered the rest of his position group together. Martinez (158) and Ryan (89) led the team in tackles last season.

After third-year pro Martinez and Ryan, who is in his fourth year, rookies fill the inside linebacker depth chart. Martinez called a position meeting to get everyone refocused.

“It just comes down to ‘What are we going to do now?’” Martinez said in recounting his message. “Or whatever your mindset is, what are you going to do to get better every day?”

Oren Burks, a third-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt, might play a bigger role if Ryan misses significant time. Burks played inside linebacker in college last season after taking on a hybrid linebacker/safety role as a junior. He played free safety as a sophomore.

The Packers are also making changes on defense after Mike Pettine replaced Dom Capers as coordinator. Martinez said that he’ll be checking on the rookies constantly to make sure they are up to speed.

“I know my goals for this season, our team goals for this season and I’m not going to let one injury kind of ruin that for us,” he said.

Brett Favre Admits to Three Trips to Rehab During Playing Career with Packers

Former Packers quarterback and Hall of Famer Brett Favre is back in the news, as the retired former Super Bowl Champion has come out with a bombshell, stating that he made three trips to rehabilitation centers during his playing career.

Favre says he made three trips to rehabilitation centers during his Hall of Fame career to fight his dependence on painkillers and alcohol.

Favre, 48, told Sports Illustrated that he took as many as 14 Vicodin at one time during the 1995 season in Green Bay. Favre won the first of his three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards that season.

“It is really amazing, as I think back, how well I played that year,” Favre said. “That was an MVP year for me. But that year, when I woke up in the morning, my first thought was, ‘I gotta get more pills.”’

Favre said his issues with pills caused him to spend 28 days at a center in Rayville, Louisiana, in the early 1990s. Favre also says he spent 28 days in rehab “strictly for drinking” in 1998. The story also mentions a previously reported 72-day stint at a Kansas City rehab center in the mid-1990s to get off Vicodin.

“When I drank, I drank to excess,” Favre said. “So when I went in the second time, to the place in Kansas, I remember vividly fighting them in there. They said drinking was the gateway drug for me, and they were right, absolutely right, but I wouldn’t admit it. I will never forget one of the nurses. I had it all figured out. I fought with this nurse all the time. I would not admit the drinking problem. At the end, she said to me, ‘You’ll be back.’

“I was back. 1998. Guess who was waiting there when I walked in — that same nurse.”

The Packers, through a spokesman, declined comment. The front office and coaching staff has turned over several times over the last 20 years.

Coming Soon: A New Deal for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might have a new contract soon.

General manager Brian Gutekunst told PFT Live he expects the team and Rodgers to “come to an agreement soon” on a deal.

There have been reports that Rodgers is frustrated with the team for not consulting him before cutting Jordy Nelson and firing QBs coach Alex Van Pelt, but Gutekunst does not seem to be worried about those frustrations affecting contract talks. “We’re pretty confident that this is something that’s taking its normal course, its normal time,” Gutekunst said.

Video: What Does Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s Record Deal Mean for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers?

The Falcons and franchise QB Matt Ryan agreed on a five-year extension on Thursday worth an estimated $150 million, and following the announcement of the deal, NFL Network spoke about it, breaking down what it could mean for other NFL QB’s – including Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

Former Packers DL Carlos Gray Shot to Death in Alabama

Authorities say a former Packers player has been found shot to death in his home in Alabama.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office says former Packers defensive lineman Carlos Gray was found shortly before 10 p.m. Monday near Birmingham, Alabama. The 25-year-old is a native of Pinson, Alabama.

Al.com reports that sheriff’s deputies and Center Point Fire and Rescue were dispatched to the house after a friend found Gray wounded and unresponsive.

Gray played at North Carolina State University and signed with the Packers as a free agent in 2014.

Al.com reports that he was released from the Packers in 2015 and returned home to Alabama. He was the father of two young children.

Packers Earn an ‘A’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Packers, who according to Kiper got an ‘A-‘ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

The Packers think they’re ready to compete for a Super Bowl in 2018, if Aaron Rodgers stays on the field, and if they can defend the pass. That was a major weakness last season — the Green Bay secondary couldn’t stop wide receivers. It gave up an NFL-high 21 touchdown passes to receivers. So new GM Brian Gutekunst went out and got two corners with his first two picks to address that problem, and I like both players. Jaire Alexander (pick 18) is an elite athlete and playmaker. Josh Jackson (45) led the FBS with eight interceptions in 2017. He’s a ball hawk, and I was really surprised that the Packers were able to get him when they did. Possible steal. They’re going to create turnovers. Kevin King had an injury-plagued rookie season and only started five games, but he’s a good player, too. That’s a talented cornerback group. I also liked third-round pick Oren Burks, who will likely play inside linebacker. He was versatile and consistent at Vanderbilt.

The best move the Packers made this weekend, though, was adding an extra 2019 first-round pick. New Orleans traded up from No. 27 to No. 14 to take Marcus Davenport, and Green Bay moved out of Round 1 (and then later moved back in by dealing third- and sixth-round picks to Seattle). That’s a huge chip to have next year, when the pass-rushing prospects should be better than they were in this class.

Elsewhere, J’Mon Moore (133) offers some receiving depth, and Cole Madison (138) reminds me a lot of what David Bakhtiari was coming out of college. That worked out just fine. JK Scott (172) was my third-ranked punter. Equanimeous St. Brown (207) is worth a late Day 3 pick as a talented but inconsistent wide receiver. The reason this class gets an “A” is the 2019 first-rounder it added from New Orleans. Now, that could end up being a very late Day 1 pick. I don’t care. I really like what Gutekunst did in his first draft.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/18 Jaire Alexander CB LOUISVILLE
2/45 Josh Jackson CB IOWA
3/88 Oren Burks OLB VANDERBILT
4/133 J’Mon Moore WR MISSOURI
5/138 Cole Madison OT WASHINGTON STATE
5/172 JK Scott P ALABAMA
5/174 Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR SOUTH FLORIDA
6/207 Equanimeous St. Brown WR NOTRE DAME
7/232 James Looney DT CALIFORNIA
7/239 Hunter Bradley LS MISSISSIPPI STATE
7/248 Kendall Donnerson OLB SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE

Report: Packers Looking to Move Up in the First Round of the NFL Draft

The draft is closing in, and reports from NFL Networks’ Ian Rapoport says the Packers might be in the market to move up, something they haven’t done in some time.