Plenty of joy and sadness on this, the final day of the 2013 Green Bay Packers training camp. With a heat index topping 100, Mike McCarthy cut short the final workout by one period and after speaking to the team, he had them trot along the Ray Nitschke Field bleachers and surrounding fences to high five the fans who came out in big numbers all summer. It's a great scene.
Wearing the biggest smile was embattled placekicker Mason Crosby. The competition for his job went from three kickers Sunday, two on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon, Crosby was standing alone, back for his 8th season. Giorgio Tavecchio was cut Sunday leaving just signed free agent Zach Ramirez to battle Crosby, but on the final day, both kickers put up plenty of field goal tries both with and against the wind. Crosby was perfect, 14 for 14. Ramirez struggled mightily, getting 16 chances and converting only 6. Case closed.
Now to the day's difficult news. The play looked innocent enough. In his Pre-Season debut last Friday night, Du Juan Harris caught a screen pass and got twisted to the ground falling out of bounds. It took a while for him to get up but he walked off the field on his own power. A red flag went up Monday when McCarthy announced DuJuan was seeking a second opinion on the injury. Turns out, Harris has significant damage, will require surgery, and his season has come to an end. Mike and DuJuan both talked about the situation after practice.
Harris will have company on the season ending injured reserve list. General Manager Ted Thompson had to make nine roster moves to reach the NFL limit of 75 players by 3:00 PM. Bryan Bulaga, expected to be the starting left tackle, is also done until next year. He suffered his knee injury back on Family Night. Rookie wide receiver Kevin Dorsey and free agent linebacker Jarvis Reed are also on IR but expect the Packers to reach an injury settlement with both and put them on waivers.
The remaining roster moves were also injury related. Once camp begins, if a player is placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, they must sit out the first six weeks of the regular season. At that point, the team will have three weeks to either activate them, move them to season ending IR, or cut 'em loose. Former number one pick Derek Sherrod is back in that PUP list doghouse. Nearly two years removed from his gruesome broken leg, the Mississippi State offensive tackle's future remains in serious doubt although McCarthy felt he had been making progress this summer. He has no idea however if he'll be able to contribute this year. Also on the PUP list is Sean Richardson who suffered a serious neck injury last year, Jerel Worthy, who blew out his knee late last season and rookie offensive tackle J.C. Tretter who broke his ankle during the organized team activities earlier this spring.
The only player actually waived was Ramirez. Thompson said today, even though he actually said goodbye to one player, another 22 will have to go after the Packers conclude the Pre-Season in Kansas City on Thursday night and he absolutely hates this time of year.