Defensive back, linebacker sign

The Packers re-signed safety/cornerback James Whitley to an exclusive-rights free-agent contract this week and signed free agent linebacker Armegis Spearman.<p>

Also, the Packers are not expected to sign or lose any players through restricted free agency. The deadline is today. The Packers reportedly had Rams defensive end Bryce Fisher in Green Bay for a visit April 2, but the 6-foot-3, 268-pounder will remain in St. Louis.

Green Bay's restricted free agents ¬– cornerback Bhawoh Jue, linebacker Torrance Marshall and tight end David Martin ¬– will remain in Green Bay and play this season for a base salary of $628,000 (minimum amount for a restricted free agent). Whitley, 24, signed a one-year, $380,000 contract. He was signed on Dec. 10 and played in the final three regular season games and both playoff games.

In Green Bay's final regular season game, Whitley beat the block of the Broncos' Jeb Putzier, then ripped the ball out of the hands of kickoff returner Adrian Madise at the Denver 1-yard line. Teammate Marcus Wilkins recovered the ball in the end zone.

Whitley, a third-year pro, originally signed with St. Louis as a free agent, Feb. 26, 2002. He was released last Dec. 2. He played the 2001 season for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. A four-year letter winner at Michigan, he intercepted six passes in college.

The 6-foot-2, 251-pound Spearman signed a restricted free-agent offer sheet with the Packers on March 13, 2003. Cincinnati matched the offer to keep Spearman four days later.

The Bengals waived Spearman, Aug. 31, in their final roster reduction before the regular season. He signed with Houston Sept. 3 and played in the Texans' first 2003 game, a 21-20 upset win at Miami, before the club waived him Sept. 9.

Spearman spent the balance of 2003 out of football. On Jan. 7, he signed a reserve/future contract with Washington, but the Redskins waived him April 1.

After a solid rookie season in 2000, Spearman sustained a torn pectoral muscle that put him on the Bengals' injured-reserve list and wiped out his 2001 season. In 2002, he played in the first seven games before a high right-ankle sprain Oct. 27 vs. Tennessee, and returned to injured reserve.

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