Holmes played in nine games last season before the injury to his right knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in November. The Giants decided not to re-sign him during the off-season.
The Packers examined Holmes' knee during his first tryout and did so again before signing him Wednesday. Satisfied he's healthy enough and can make a difference, Holmes was signed to a one-year deal worth the veteran's minimum of $660,000.
Holmes was signed to add some spice to a bland pass rush. The Packers ranked 20th out of 32 teams with 34 sacks last season. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila fought through constant double teams to record 10 of those. Packers coach/GM Mike Sherman hopes the addition will free up Gbaja-Biamila or Holmes will be able to take advantage of the one-on-one blocking he's likely to see should he make the roster.
Like Gbaja-Biamila, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Holmes relies on speed to get to the passer.
Holmes wasn't given much time to get acclimated to his new surroundings Wednesday. He arrived about an hour into Wednesday's practice and not long thereafter was getting his first taste of live action as an end with the No. 2 defense. He also participated in one-on-one pass-rushing drills.
While he didn't fair well in either instance, that's to be expected from a player who hasn't practiced since before injuring his knee midway through last season. Nonetheless, Sherman says Holmes will get 10-12 snaps Friday night in Jacksonville. That's just fine, Holmes said.
"It felt good to come out and finally have a guy in an off-color jersey to be able to go against, instead of my trainer down in Florida," Holmes said. "He's probably about 5-2 or 5-3, so it was a little different than going against the 6-4, 6-5 (linemen)."
Holmes tallied 5 1/2 sacks in nine games last season. Despite being 30 and coming off knee surgery, Holmes insists he has plenty in the tank and can make the impact for which the Packers are hoping.
"I think I'm a heck of a player and I have a lot of football left in me. I just want to put it to good use," Holmes said.
Holmes was drafted in the first round (18th overall) by the Houston Oilers in 1997 out of the University of Miami, just before the Oilers franchise moved to Tennessee.
Holmes is the latest in a parade of players who Sherman has given a chance to be the much-needed complementary edge rusher. Jamal Reynolds was given a final chance this summer but bombed. Marcus Wilkins, who had three sacks in a preseason game last year, was released earlier this month.
Starting linebackers Na'il Diggs and Hannibal Navies have been given chances, as have backup linebackers Steve Josue and Torrance Marshall. Josue recorded a sack Saturday against New Orleans but he's hardly a lock to make the final roster. None of the other players given a cameo have impressed in that role.
The club has assigned Holmes jersey No. 55.