TE leaves team; injury report

Tight end's 'heart wasn't into football'

Green Bay's roster was reduced by one this week when tight end Garrett Cross decided to leave the team, Packers coach Mike Sherman said. Cross was signed as an undrafted free agent in April by the Packers.

Cross played with quarterback Aaron Rodgers while the two were at Butte (Calif.) Junior College (2001-02) and at the University of California (2003-04). He missed most of the June minicamp with a sprained ankle, but practiced earlier this week with rookies and free agents. He made a diving catch near the sideline during the team's practice inside Lambeau Field Wednesday that drew cheers from the crowd of about 15,000. But after practice he met with Sherman and told the coach that he was quitting football.

"Garrett and I sat down after the rookie practice," Sherman said. "He had some nice catches, he got a great ovation, you all interviewed him afterward and he signed autographs. But he said his heart wasn't in it. I said, ‘Well, you have a funny way of showing it. You had a pretty dang good practice.' He just didn't feel like it was the right thing for him. Some people will criticize him for that decision, but if he feels it's not right for him, I appreciated his honesty. I want guys who want to be here. He just said his heart wasn't in it. I said, ‘Hey, I appreciate your honesty. I never try to talk someone into playing football. It's certainly not something you can do if your heart's not in it. After going through a 16-game season, you're heart better be in it. He decided he wants to go back to school and get his degree and work towards a different profession. I appreciated his honesty."

With veteran Bubba Franks unsigned and Cross's departure, the Packers are down to four tight ends in training camp – David Martin, Ben Steele, Sean McHugh and Steve Fleming.

Injury report: Rookie linebacker Brady Poppinga injured his hamstring during the morning session Friday in a drill while chasing down running back Ahman Green. Sherman said Poppinga will be sidelined from one to five days.

Running back Walter Williams injured the same ankle that forced the Packers to place him on injured reserve late last season. Williams sustained the injury during the afternoon practice on Friday and did not practice on Saturday. Sherman said that the injury is not a high ankle sprain, like the injury suffered against the Houston Texans last November in his only action with the Packers. Williams was placed on injured reserve a week after that game.

Sherman said he will limit center Mike Flanagan, tackle Chad Clifton and defensive tackle James Lee to one-a-day practices.

Other players who have been held out of some or all of the team's practices thus far include: cornerbacks Jason Horton (chest) and Chris Johnson (foot).


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