Worthy Shipped to Patriots

Jerel Worthy, a second-round pick in 2012, barely played in 2013 and hadn't practiced in training camp this summer. On Tuesday, Worthy said he was waiting to be cleared by the medical staff.

Maybe Jerel Worthy knew something was up.

“I know that Ted (Thompson) has a great plan for me,” Worthy said in the Green Bay Packers’ locker room at about 2:45 p.m.

About three hours later, his agent, Chafie Fields, announced on Twitter that Worthy had been sent to the Patriots for a conditional draft pick. Before the trade can be finalized, Worthy will have to pass a physical. Considering he sustained a torn ACL in the 2012 finale that limited him to 12 snaps in 2013, then had offseason back surgery that prevented him from participating in offseason practices and training camp in 2014, that’s not necessarily a given.

Worthy, a second-round pick in 2012 after a decorated career at Michigan State, was a major disappointment. Given ample opportunities to produce as a situational pass rusher as a rookie, Worthy had 2.5 sacks and, by the team’s count, five quarterback hits. His season ended with a torn ACL sustained while blocking on a kickoff return in Week 17 at Minnesota.

In 2013, he spent the first half of the season on the PUP list. He played in 10 snaps against Minnesota on Nov. 24 but performed poorly. He was banished to the bench until Dec. 29, when he played two snaps at Chicago, and he played two more snaps in the playoff loss at San Francisco.

Worthy sustained a lower-back injury while training in February. The injury required surgery in April — a procedure that kept him sidelined throughout the offseason and landed him on the PUP list for the start of training camp.

Worthy, essentially repeating what he said at this time last year while waiting to be cleared from the ACL, on Tuesday said he was ready, willing and able to begin practicing once he’s cleared from back surgery.

“I’m just waiting for the green light,” Worthy said. “I feel really great. I’ve done everything that I can possibly do with the training staff and with the strength and conditioning guys. They’ve done a great job of prepping me for this moment. At the end of the day, it’s just a day-to-day thing. I said it last week, that I’m just waiting for my moment. I’ve just got to trust the process. I know that Ted has a great plan for me.”

Worthy said he was not worried about his status on the roster.

“No, I don’t worry about that at all because I know what kind of caliber of player that I am and I know what I can bring to this team,” Worthy said. “I know that when I get back out there, I’m going to be ready to make some plays.”

Worthy’s perpetually sunny outlook was only amplified by becoming a father during the offseason. Jerel Carter Worthy and his mother, Stephanie, helped put a smile on Worthy’s face, no matter the hard times.

“At the end of the day, anything can always be worse,” he said. “You’ve always got to think in a positive manner because you can’t mope around here and be angry because, at the end of the day, it affects your job and, when you go home, it affects your family. You’ve always got to keep a positive mind-set because so many people look up to you and then, on top of that, the people in this locker room count on you to perform and do your job. I’m just trying to take it day by day and have the right type of preparation in order for me to get back out there.

Worthy said he “for sure” would practice at some point in training camp. Now, that apparently will happen in New England.

Even with Worthy, the Packers’ defensive line was lacking in proven talent. Datone Jones, B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels are the starters, with second-year player Josh Boyd next in the rotation. Rookie third-round pick Khyri Thornton, who has had a decent camp, is No. 5 on the pecking order. Without Worthy and Letroy Guion, a street free agent who hasn’t practiced in training camp due to an injured hamstring, undrafted rookies Mike Pennel and Carlos Gray were in the thick of a roster battle. Veterans Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly remain unsigned.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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