Gardner signs on dotted line

Big wide receiver returns to Packers

The Green Bay Packers officially announced Tuesday that they re-signed unrestricted free agent Rod Gardner. He reportedly received a one-year deal.

The wide receiver played in Green Bay's final two games (catching four passes for 67 yards (16.8 avg.) after getting claimed on waivers from the Carolina Panthers. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Gardner is a big, physical receiver that coach Mike McCarthy to have as part of the offense.

Gardner will have a good chance to be one of Green Bay's top three wide receivers this season. It is uncertain if disgruntled Javon Walker will return as well as Terrence Murphy, who sustained a serious neck injury last season. Injury-prone Robert Ferguson is schedule to earn a sizeable salary and may get released. The Packers also decided to part ways with Antonio Chatman, who signed a two-year deal with Cincinnati today.

Acquired by Carolina in a July trade with Washington, Gardner spent most of the 2005 season with the Panthers. Combined with Carolina and Green Bay last year, he caught 13 passes for 151 yards (11.6 avg.) with one touchdown.

Washington's first-round selection (15th overall) in the 2001 NFL Draft, Gardner started 61 of 64 games for the Redskins over his first four NFL seasons (2001-04), recording a 1,000-yard season in 2002. He had a catch in each of his first 55 NFL games, a streak that ended in 2004, one week after he posted a pair of touchdown receptions in a loss to the Packers at FedEx Field. Over his five-year career, he has 240 receptions for 3,148 yards (13.1 avg.) with 23 touchdowns.

A quarterback in high school and in college on the Clemson scout team, Gardner as an NFL player has completed two of seven passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. He also lettered in basketball and baseball as a prep.

Coming and going
The Packers activated tight end Garrett Cross from reserve/left squad and released wide receiver Harry Williams.

Cross, a teammate of quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the University of California, left the Packers early in training camp last season. At the time, he said he wanted to return to school to finish his degree and take a break from football.

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