Packers sign cornerback

The Green Bay Packers signed free agent cornerback Michael Hawthorne on Monday. Hawthorne fills the roster spot vacated by rookie Chris Johnson, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Saturday.<p>

Hawthorne, a four-year pro, was released by the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 9. He started in seven of 28 games for the Saints.

The 6-3, 200-pound Hawthorne started the first three games of the 2002 season at cornerback and played in six before suffering a season-ending left knee injury. Prior to being sidelined, he had 36 tackles (29 unassisted), and one interception.

"He's got experience playing corner and safety and he's a good special teams player," director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie said. "He's got good speed. Not great, but good. He's a low 4.5, high 4.4."

Hawthorne started 23 of 33 games for Purdue University, finishing with 104 total tackles and 4 interceptions. He was selected in the the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft by the Saints.

Johnson suffered torn cartilage in his knee during a collision in practice prior to Green Bay's Aug. 23 preseason game. Coach and general manager Mike Sherman said Monday that Johnson will undergo surgery to repair the cartilage.

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