Their days in Green Bay are numbered

Veterans Robert Ferguson and William Henderson appear to be on the way out

General manager Ted Thompson went on record with a handful of Wisconsin media outlets this week, saying it's the team's intention to have oft-injured receiver Robert Ferguson back next season.

Ferguson landed on injured reserve because of a serious foot injury that kept him out of the last two games.

Ferguson has been hampered by injuries since he was taken in the second round by the Packers in 2001. His salary cap number will be $2.5 million next season and he is not expected to start, so the Packers may negotiate an injury settlement and let him go. But Thompson said emphatically Monday that he wanted Ferguson back next season.

The outlook for another veteran staying put in Green Bay isn't as promising. Removed from the starting lineup a few weeks ago, fullback William Henderson now can't get on the field.

The 12th-year pro was deactivated Sunday for only the fourth time in his career, all spent with the Packers. What's more, Henderson was kept out for the first time because of a non-injury reason.

Coach Mike McCarthy didn't exactly imply Monday that Henderson's absence would be a one-time deal.

"Everybody that's been around him knows the type of person and professional he is. He's battling for his playing time. He goes out there, he's the same guy every day, and you admire that from a coaching standpoint," McCarthy said. "But, there's other things that factor into playing - special teams - and we've got some young guys that are playing at a high level.

"So, (it was) not an easy decision to put him down, but it's a decision that we made, and the emphasis was more because of the special teams."

The last statement is telling because Henderson, whose blocking skills have deteriorated the last couple years, still filled a serviceable niche on special teams early on this season.

However, Henderson was first pushed aside from fullback duties in Week 4 in favor of second-year Brandon Miree, who was promoted from the practice squad. Three games later, it appears getting on the field in some capacity will be a tough nut for Henderson to crack.

Henderson and quarterback Brett Favre are the only holdovers from the Super Bowl XXXI-championship team in 1996.

"We all know William will continue to work, and he'll be ready when his number is called," McCarthy said.

Henderson, who's well regarded as a team player, spurned overtures from Minnesota in the off-season to re-sign with the Packers. They have the financial luxury of cutting ties with him at any time, though, because the two-year, $2.1 million deal that Henderson signed didn't include a signing bonus.

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