Two starting linemen released

As expected, the Green Bay Packers today released guard Mike Wahle to free up much-needed salary cap space, and made a number of other moves as well.<p>

Releasing Wahle frees up about $11 million and helps the Packers get under the $85.5 million salary cap before free agency begins on Wednesday.

The Packers also:

– Terminated the contract of center/guard Grey Ruegamer;

– Re-signed wide receiver/kick returner Antonio Chatman and defensive end R-Kal Truluck to one-year contracts;

– Tendered offers to six restricted free agents: tackle Kevin Barry, running back Najeh Davenport, defensive end Aaron Kampman, linebacker Paris Lenon and quarterbacks Craig Nall and J.T. O'Sullivan;

– Tendered offers to three exclusive-rights free agents: cornerback Jason Horton, defensive tackle/end Cullen Jenkins and tight end Ben Steele.

The Packers reportedly gave the lowest of the three tenders ($656,000) to Davenport, Nall and Kevin Barry. Truluck was signed to an incentive-laden one-year contract.

In restricted free agency, if a player signs elsewhere under a low tender, the Packers would be given a draft pick corresponding with the round in which that player was drafted. If an undrafted free agent such as Barry departs, the Packers would receive no compensation. Thus, if Davenport receives an offer from another team and the Packers decline to match it, Green Bay receives a fourth-round selection in this year's NFL Draft.

Wahle, the Packers' starter at left guard the last four seasons, ended the 2004 season having played in 97 straight games (103 including postseason). The only Packers player who didn't miss as much as a practice because of injury over the 2002 and '03 seasons, Wahle sat out the first three weeks of 2004 training camp with a bone bruise in his knee. He rebounded to play every regular-season snap last season and helped the team establish franchise records in total net yards (6,357) and net passing yards (4,449), and its franchise low for sacks allowed (14).

Selected by the Packers in the 1998 Supplemental Draft, Wahle also saw action at both tackle positions, mostly during his early career. A 6-foot-6, 304-pound lineman from Navy, he enters his eighth season in the NFL.

Ruegamer in 2004 started at center in 11 of the final 13 games as well as the playoff contest, after starter Mike Flanagan went on injured reserve with debilitating knee tendinitis. Originally signed as an unrestricted free agent April 10, 2003, Ruegamer played in 30 games the last two seasons, as the top backup on the interior of the offensive line. A 6-foot-4, 305-pound veteran out of Arizona State, he enters his seventh season in the NFL.

Chatman has played a key role in the team's punt- and kick-return game each of the last two seasons. In 2004, he became more of a threat on offense as the Packers' No. 4 and, later in the year, No. 3 receiver. A 5-foot-9, 184-pound player out of Cincinnati, Chatman played in all 16 games last season, including two starts. He also saw action in the Wild Card contest vs. Minnesota (Jan. 9). On special teams, he finished eighth in the NFC with a 7.7-yard average on punt returns (32 for 245 yards), and on kickoffs averaged 22.6 yards per runback (25 for 565 yards), including a career-long 59-yarder at Minnesota (Dec. 24). As a receiver, he made 22 receptions for 246 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing four times for 36 yards. Elevated to No. 3 receiver for the final two regular-season games and the playoff, he took the place of an injured Robert Ferguson. Chatman, who was to become an exclusive-rights free agent, originally signed with the Packers as a free agent, June 2, 2003.

Truluck, who was to become a restricted free agent Wednesday, is a situational pass rusher who backed up Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila at the 'Elephant' (right) defensive end position. Acquired from Kansas City Sept. 5 for the Chiefs' fifth- and sixth-round picks in the 2005 draft, he was used mostly in third-down and other long-yardage situations. Playing in 14 games with one start, he totaled 14 tackles (11 solo), including 2 sacks, over the course of the season.

A former Canadian Football League player, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Truluck has eight total sacks in three NFL seasons.

Davenport served as the top backup to Pro Bowler Ahman Green for a third straight season. Limited by several injuries over the course of the year, he was also the team's primary kickoff returner when healthy. In 11 regular-season games, he finished second on the team in rushing with 359 yards on 71 carries (5.1 avg.), including two touchdowns; he also had four receptions for 33 yards and 14 kickoff returns for 286 yards (20.4 avg.). In his first NFL start, with Green sidelined vs. St. Louis (Nov. 29), he turned in the top performance of his young career, rushing 19 times for 178 yards and a touchdown. That output ranked as the NFL's third-highest total over the last 20 years for a player in his first league start, and the fifth-highest total in team history. A 6-foot-1, 250-pound back out of Miami (Fla.), Davenport originally entered the NFL as the Packers' fourth-round selection in the 2002 draft.

Kampman, a 6-foot-4, 284-pound defender out of Iowa, started all 16 games and the playoff at 'Power' (left) end. He led all Packers linemen with a career-high 77 tackles (53 solo, also a career best) and tied for second on the team with 4 sacks. What's more, Kampman recovered one fumble, forced another and notched a career-best three passes defensed. A fifth-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft, he had come off the bench to start 16 total games over his first two NFL seasons (2002-03).

Lenon, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker out of Richmond, in 2004 served as the primary backup at the 'Will' (weak-side) and 'Buck' (strong-side) linebacker positions, posting a career-high 28 tackles (17 solo) from scrimmage. A special teams standout, he also contributed eight coverage tackles. Playing in all 16 games for the third straight year, he added four starts and also saw action in the playoff. Lenon, who has experience in NFL Europe and the XFL, originally made the Packers as a free agent, signing a reserve/future contract Jan. 23, 2002.

Nall, a 6-foot-3, 228-pound quarterback out of Northwestern (La.) State, finished the season as the Packers' No. 2 quarterback, taking over the role in Week 5 after long-time backup Doug Pederson went on injured reserve. Nall began the year as the No. 3 quarterback, a position he also had held the past two seasons, after holding off challengers Tim Couch and Scott McBrien in the preseason. Nall saw action in five games, completing 23 of 33 passes (69.7 percent) for 314 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, a 139.4 passer rating. He received his most extensive playing time at Chicago (Jan. 2). Entering in the second quarter, he completed seven of 13 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown. The Packers' second of two selections in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft, Nall led NFL Europe in touchdown passes (18) and passer rating (95.9) during the 2003 season, starting all 10 games for the Scottish Claymores.

O'Sullivan, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound quarterback out of UC Davis, joined the Packers Oct. 4 with a second-round 2005 pick from New Orleans for cornerback Mike McKenzie and a conditional '06 selection. The Packers' third quarterback for the final 12 regular-season games and the Vikings playoff, he played in one game, at Chicago (Jan. 2), with no pass attempts. Allocated by the Saints, he led the Frankfurt Galaxy to the 2004 World Bowl championship, ranking second in NFLE with a 91.9 passer rating (120-for-196, 1,527 yards, 10 TDs, five INTs). Working in New Orleans under Mike McCarthy, the former Saints' offensive coordinator who has tutored Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Jake Delhomme, Rich Gannon and Matt Hasselbeck, O'Sullivan led the Saints in preseason passing each of the last two years. A mobile quarterback, he also scrambled for 138 yards during the 2004 NFLE season.

Horton, a 6-foot, 193-pound cornerback from North Carolina A&T, won a spot on the season-opening roster after a strong training camp. A top contributor on special teams, he played in 14 regular-season games, as well as the playoff, and posted 16 coverage tackles - third on the team. He also notched five stops from scrimmage (three solo) as a backup cover man. The Packers originally signed Horton as a reserve/future free agent Jan. 6, 2004.

Jenkins, a 6-foot-3, 292-pound lineman out of Central Michigan, returned from a 2004 stint in NFL Europe to win a roster spot with the Packers in his second attempt to do so. A versatile lineman, he contributed 28 tackles (18 solo) playing in all 16 games and the playoff. With 4 sacks, he tied Kampman for second on the team, and added one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. Jenkins, the younger brother of Panthers All-Pro Kris Jenkins, started four early-season games (Weeks 3-6) at the 'Eagle' tackle position when the usual starter, Cletidus Hunt, shifted to nose tackle to replace an injured Grady Jackson (kneecap). Green Bay originally signed Jenkins as a non-drafted free agent May 2, 2003.

Steele, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end from Mesa State, served as the Packers' No. 3 tight end after a promotion from the practice squad Sept. 15. Playing in Green Bay's final 15 games and its postseason contest, Steele ranked second on the team with 17 special-teams tackles, and added four receptions for 42 yards. Against Minnesota (Nov. 14), with whom he spent the previous two training camps, he made a potentially game-saving play at the bottom of a kickoff scrum to recover a Robert Ferguson fumble and set up the Packers' game-winning drive. The verdict remained in doubt for 39 seconds as Steele fought with Kevin Ross under the pile.


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