Hunt, Thompson among cuts

Packers release veterans, make two trades to reach roster limit

The Green Bay Packers Saturday released 19 players, placed two on injured reserve and completed two trades to reach the NFL mandated roster limit of 53 players. Among the veterans released by the team were defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt and linebacker Ray Thompson.

The Packers traded CB Chris Johnson to the St. Louis Rams for LB Robert Thomas, a fourth-year veteran out of UCLA. In addition, the Packers traded T/G Steve Morley to the New York Jets for a future undisclosed draft choice.

Thomas, the Rams' first-round pick (32nd overall) in the 2002 NFL Draft out of UCLA, played in 42 games, starting 32 for the Rams. He made 221 tackles (144 solo), 2.0 sacks, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and two special teams tackles in three seasons. He also played in three postseason contests, starting one, racking up 17 tackles (nine solo) with 0.5 sacks.

Johnson, in his third NFL season out of Louisville, was originally drafted by the Packers in the seventh-round (245th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft and spent his rookie season on the reserve/injured list with a knee injury. Last season, Johnson spent the end of the season on the weekly inactives list after being take off the reserve/physically unable to perform list on Oct. 20.

Hunt, a starting defensive tackle the last three seasons, was drafted by the Packers out of Kentucky State in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. Since signing a multi-year, $25.5 million contract with a $6 million signing bonus during the off-season of 2003, his performance has slipped each season. Hunt also skipped the team's June mini-camps in each of the last two seasons and did not participate in the team's off-season workout program. At the end of last season, Hunt was replaced in the starting lineup by Cullen Jenkins.

Hunt missed most of the team's training camp this season due to tendonitis in both knees and a shoulder injury. He returned to practice last week, but on a limited basis.

Thompson was signed as a free agent by the Packers in April. He was expected to start at outside linebacker in place of the departed Hannibal Navies, but presumably has lost the starting job to Thomas. Nick Barnett (middle linebacker) and Na'il Diggs are the other two starting linebackers.

The team placed safety Todd Franz and running back Joey Harris on season-ending injured reserve. Franz sustained a separated shoulder Aug. 20 in a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Harris injured his knee in Thursday's preseason finale against the Tennesee Titans.

Here is a list of players that the Packers released today:

QB J.T. O'Sullivan
RB Walt Williams
FB Vonta Leach
WR Craig Bragg
WR Sam Breeden
WR Jamal Jones
WR Andrae Thurman
TE Sean McHugh
T/G Brad Bedell
T/G Joe Hayes
DT Cletidus Hunt
DT James Lee
DE R-Kal Truluck
DE Seante Williams
LB Corey Jenkins
LB Nick McNeil
LB Ray Thompson
CB Chris Day
CB Leigh Torrence

The Packers are allowed to begin signing players to practice-squad contracts after 11 a.m. Sunday.

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