Packers release Wilkins

When Packers coach Mike Sherman dicusses the lack of a pass rusher opposite Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, he always says quality rushers aren't available on the open market and that need must be filled internally.

For one brief glimmer, that player appeared to be Marcus Wilkins. Wilkins won't be providing any heat for the Packers, however, after the linebacker was released by the team Tuesday evening.

During last season's preseason opener in Canton, Ohio, against Kansas City, Wilkins tallied three sacks. Outside of a couple big plays and some tackles on special teams, however, Wilkins was never heard from again.

Wilkins, who was entering his third NFL season, played in a dozen games in his Packers career and recorded 18 tackles. Thirteen of those came on special teams. He did not record a regular-season sack.

Wilkins made two big plays last season. First, in a Monday night game at Chicago on Sept. 29, Wilkins blocked the Packers' first punt since 1997. In the season finale, Wilkins pounced on a fumbled punt return in the end zone for a touchdown against Denver.

At 6-foot-2, 235 pounds and with blazing speed for a linebacker, the undrafted player from the University of Texas possessed an intriguing athleticism. That ability, however, only translated to the football field on rare occasions.

With Jamal Reynolds a bust, Wilkins got some cracks as a pass-rushing defensive end last season but did not deliver. He's been mostly invisible during this training camp, and struggled against Seattle on Monday.

With Wilkins' release, the Packers appear likely to emerge from training camp with Paris Lenon and Torrance Marshall as the backup linebackers. If a sixth linebacker is kept, it could be Tyreo Harrison.

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