Levens, Packers Part Ways

Dorsey Levens' eight-year stay with the Green Bay Packers officially came to an end today when the team announced his release. Levens and the Packers were negotiating on a restructured contract, but the running back has opted to test free agency and a chance to get more playing time or start with another team.<p>

By releasing Levens, the Packers will enter the start of free agency, which begins Friday, with $3 million of salary cap room, according to reports. That will enable the Packers to make one or two big signings from a pool of free agents that is larger than normal.

The Packers are seeking to bolster their group of receivers, defensive line and linebacker. Green Bay on Wednesday released veterans Santana Dotson, Bernardo Harris, John Thierry and K.D. Williams.

Levens was scheduled to receive a $500,000 roster bonus due on Friday. Releasing Levens created $2.5 million in cap room. He took a pay cut from $6 million to $1.4 million last year and played behind Ahman Green. Levens also stepped in as the team's kickoff returner in place of the injured Rossum late in the season.

"Dorsey Levens has made tremendous contributions to the Green Bay Packers over his career," Sherman said in announcing the move, adding, "At the present time, he's chosen to pursue a starting position with another team in the National Football League. Right now, with Ahman Green as our starter, that's just not a possibility here.

"We will keep the door open. There is a possibility that he will return in the future."

Levens, 31, is the fourth-ranking rusher in Packers history (3,937 yards) behind Jim Taylor (8,207), John Brockington (5,024) and Tony Canadeo (4,197). He also is the leading pass-catcher among running backs in team annals with 271 receptions, good for 11th place overall in Packers career receiving.

The 6-1, 230-pound Syracuse, N.Y., native also is the Packers' all-time leading postseason rusher with 647 yards, holding the team's top three single-game rushing performances in playoff competition, and is Green Bay's third-leading receiver in postseason play with 41 catches.

A fifth-round draft selection out of Georgia Tech in 1994, Levens led the Packers in rushing in both 1997 (1,435 yards) and 1999 (1,034). He and Ahman Green are the third and fourth players in Packers history to have posted two (or more) 1,000-yard seasons.

Levens' 1,435-yard production in 1997 remains the second-highest single season rushing total in Packers history.

But he was plagued by knee, rib and ankle injuries from 1998 through 2000 that limited him to 26 games with 23 starts. Last year, Levens played in 15 games with one start and finished with 164 yards rushing on 44 carries. He also caught 24 passes for 159 yards.

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