Backup Role is Defined

Doug Pederson officially wrapped up the backup spot to Brett Favre Tuesday when the Packers released veteran Billy Joe Tolliver. The Packers also announced the signing of quarterback Michael Bishop and defensive tackle Giradie Mercer, both of whom were claimed on waivers from the New England Patriots.

To make room for Bishop and Mercer, the Packers also released veteran tight end Troy Drayton. Coach/general manager Mike Sherman also announced that defensive tackle Matt Keneley, waived injured Aug. 19, has been placed on injured reserve.

Pederson's strong outing in Green Bay's 22-7 preseason win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night helped his cause. The veteran quarterback threw for 112 yards and one touchdown on eight-of-12 passing and led the Packers on four third-quarter scoring drives.

"I thought Doug did well," said Sherman. "No turnovers, made some throws that he had to make and got out of pressure when he had to get out of pressure."

Bishop, a seventh-round draft selection out of Kansas State in 1999, has appeared in 8 games for New England during two previous NFL seasons, all of them during the 2000 season, and completed 3 of 9 passes for 80 yards and one touchdown, with one interception. A year earlier, as a rookie, he was listed among the Patriots' inactive players prior to 15 of their 16 regular-season games.

Bishop, 6-2 and 215 pounds, completed his first professional pass in highly dramatic fashion, finding wide receiver Tony Simons in the end zone for a 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown (vs. Indianapolis October 8, 2000). In so doing, he became the first player since Pat Haden (a rookie with the Los Angeles Rams in 1976) to complete his first NFL pass for 40 or more yards.

During the NFL's offseason, Bishop played in six games for the NFL Europe League's Frankfurt Galaxy and completed 76 of 153 passes for 1,090 yards and 11 touchdowns, with seven interceptions. He also rushed for 244 yards on 35 carries, a 7.0 average.

The 6-2, 285-pound Mercer, a second-year professional from Marshall College, spent his rookie, 2000 season on injured reserve with the Philadelphia Eagles after suffering a torn triceps tendon injury during the preseason and undergoing surgical repair of the tendon.

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