Packers notebook

William Henderson's stellar career with the Green Bay Packers officially came to an end today when he was released by the team. The Packers also re-signed a valuable special teams player, and a former Packers running back re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Plus, more Packer-related notes!

The Green Bay Packers made it official Wednesday by releasing veteran fullback William Henderson, leaving Brett Favre as the only member of the Super Bowl XXXI championship team on the team's current roster.

Henderson, who signed a two-year contract with the Packers in March of 2006, told a Green Bay television station on Monday that he was going to be released. Packers general manager Ted Thompson followed through today with an announcement on the 12-year veteran.

"We are releasing William at this point so he can pursue other opportunities within the National Football League," Thompson said. "The Packers organization is extremely appreciative of his efforts over the past 12 seasons. His leadership and work ethic set an excellent example for everyone in our locker room. It is difficult to part with a high-character individual like William. He has been an influential person on several outstanding Packers teams over his career. He always will be considered a Packer."

Henderson, 36, was demoted to second string behind second-year pro Brandon Miree last year. To fill the void left by Henderson, the Packers met in Green Bay with free agent Justin Griffith today.

Henderson played in 188 Packers games, more than all but three players in team history (Brett Favre, Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke). In 12 seasons, he caught 320 passes for 2,409 yards (7.5 avg.) and 14 touchdowns, and rushed for 426 yards on 112 carries (3.5 avg.) with five scores.

Originally selected by the Packers in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft, Henderson also played in 16 Green Bay playoff games, including Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII.

Linebacker re-signs with Packers
The Packers also announced that they re-signed linebacker Tracy White, an unrestricted free agent who led the club with 17 special-teams tackles in 2006.

White made the team as a free agent in training camp last year because of his value on special teams. He was placed on waivers in late September, then re-signed by the Packers in early October. White played in 14 games.

Terms of his contract were undisclosed.

Ex-Packers back re-signs with Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers added depth to their offensive backfield today when they re-signed free agent running back Najeh Davenport to a two-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Davenport (6-1, 247) originally signed with the Steelers Sept. 8, 2006, after he was released by the Packers on the final roster reduction in training camp. He became a regular contributor as a running back on third downs and returning kickoffs. He finished second on the team with 221 rushing yards and one touchdown on 60 carries (3.7 avg.) and caught 15 passes for 193 yards (12.9 avg.) and a score. Davenport took on an increased role on offense after former back-up running back Verron Haynes injured his knee in Week 7 at Oakland.

Davenport's biggest impact may have come on special teams where he led the Steelers in both kickoff returns (21) and kickoff return yards (448) and averaged 21.3 yards-per-attempt. He also recorded five special teams tackles.

Davenport spent his first four seasons with the Green Bay Packers, who originally selected him in the fourth round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with Green Bay before being released prior to the 2006 season. Davenport has rushed for 1,289 yards and eight touchdowns on 277 carries (4.7 avg.) and caught 32 passes for 300 yards (9.4 avg.) and a score in his five NFL seasons. He has also returned 66 kickoffs for 1,537 yards (23.3 avg.) during his career.

Martin cashes in with Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins reportedly paid tight end David Martin a $1.2 million signing bonus as part of his new free-agent contract, an NFL source told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Soon after the Dolphins signed Martin, they released veteran tight end Randy McMichael.

Though McMichael has been arrested twice for domestic incidents over the last three seasons, the Packers and other NFL teams likely will be interested in signing him. The Jets, Seahawks and Raiders have all shown interest in McMichael, though, he has yet to meet with another team. He has averaged more than 60 catches a year over the last three seasons.

Graham agrees to deal with Denver
For those hoping that the Packers would have pursued tight end Daniel Graham, forget about it. The former New England Patriot signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Broncos on Wednesday. Graham's deal includes $15 million in guaranteed money.

The Broncos will use Graham's blocking skills to bolster their running game and red zone offense. He has improved as a pass-catcher and should see his offensive numbers rise.


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