Packers sign seven free agents

Ryan led CFL in punting in 2005

The Green Bay Packers Tuesday officially announced the signings of seven players to reserve/future contracts. They include punters Jon Ryan and Ryan Dutton, tight end Thomas Gafford, center Wayne Lucier, defensive tackle Jerome Nichols, wide receiver Willie Quinnie, and guard Pete Traynor.

Here is information on each player from the Packers:

Ryan, a 6-foot, 202-pound punter, led the Canadian Football League last season in both gross punting average (50.6) and net average (42.3), playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. A third-round selection (24th overall) in the 2004 Canadian college draft out of the University of Regina, Ryan averaged 43.2 yards per punt and had one punt of 92 yards as a rookie. In 2003, he led Canadian college punters with a 45.9-yard gross average. He was a Canadian Interuniversity Sport first-team All-Canadian selection and a Canada West first-team all-star.

Dutton, a 6-foot-4, 213-pound punter from Minnesota State-Mankato, spent 2005 training camp with Seattle before being waived on Aug. 26. He played for the Amsterdam Admirals in '05 and averaged 41.7 yards per punt, finishing second in the NFL Europe League in net punting with a 35.3-yard average. Dutton broke into the NFL in 2004, signing as a free agent with Cleveland. Waived at the end of training camp, he spent a week in mid-November on the Browns practice squad. At Minnesota State-Mankato, the Oshkosh, Wis., native was twice named a Division II All-American at punter and was a two-year starter at quarterback.

Gafford, 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds, was a four-time letterman at Houston. He played in every game in his Cougars career, all 47 contests. Gafford attended Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, Texas, where he was named the team's MVP as a senior.

Lucier, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound center, played two seasons with the New York Giants before being waived last September and spending 2005 out of football. Having started 20 of 27 games in his NFL career, Lucier proved versatile by playing center, right guard and left guard. In 2004, he was a key member of an offensive line that paved the way for Tiki Barber's 1,518 rushing yards, then a franchise record. In 2003, he played in 12 games with 11 starts, before being placed on injured reserve (Dec. 2). Lucier, who played his first two collegiate years at Northwestern before transferring to Colorado, started his junior and senior seasons with the Buffaloes. He was a first-team All-America selection by The NFL Draft Report and The Sporting News in 2002 and a unanimous All-Big 12 Conference first-team selection.

Nichols, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive lineman out of Wake Forest, signed with Washington as a nondrafted free agent following the 2005 draft. He took part in the Redskins' training camp before being released during the team's final roster reduction. Collegiately, Nichols was a four-year letterman. His top performance came as a junior when he posted career-highs in games started (all 12) and tackles (33), adding two sacks, two interceptions, six passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.

Quinnie, a 6-foot, 187-pound wide receiver out of Alabama-Birmingham, spent part of last season on San Diego's practice squad. He initially joined Oakland as nondrafted free agent in 2003 and was named to the practice squad at the start of the season, but was released on Sept. 9. Quinnie was signed by Atlanta as a reserve/future player and was sent to NFL Europe, where he played for the Rhein Fire and caught 46 passes for 415 yards with three touchdowns. He spent the '04 preseason with Atlanta and was subsequently waived at the start of the regular season. At UAB, Quinnie made 90 career receptions for 1,395 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Traynor, 6-foot-3 and 311 pounds, had played the last three seasons with the Quad Cities Steamwheelers of the Arena2 Football League. At Iowa, he lettered three times as a reserve lineman. Traynor attended Milton (Wis.) High School.

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