Marshall moved to fullback

The Green Bay Packers have experimented with Torrance Marshall at fullback since training camp. Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman took it a step further Thursday by moving the second-year pro to the offensive backfield.<p>

In the process of shifting Marshall to offense, the Packers signed free agent tackle Barrett Brooks and released oft-injured third-year running back Rondell Mealey. Mealey began the season as the top backup to Ahman Green but he was passed up on the depth chart by Najeh Davenport in Week 3 during Green Bay's win over the Detroit Lions.

"That was a tough call," Sherman said of cutting Mealey. "He's a great kid, and he's worked extremely hard. That was one of the toughest calls I've ever made.

"With Najeh Davenport's emergence last week ... we moved him into the second (halfback) spot. It made him (Mealey) more expendable. "Not easy decisions, but decisions that had to be made. It also gives us a chance to work with (linebacker Marcus) Wilkins on special teams."

A knee injury to starter William Henderson fueled Sherman's decision to move Marshall to fullback. Henderson sprained his left knee Sept. 22 at Detroit and is expected to miss his first game since his rookie season in 1995 this Sunday against Carolina. Marshall played a few downs at fullback against the Lions.

Moving Marshall also is an indication by the Packers that they do not feel comfortable with him as the middle linebacker of the future. The Packers signed veteran free agent Hardy Nickerson this off-season to play middle linebacker. By moving Marshall, the Packers changed his number from 51 to 41, but it is uncertain if the move is permanent. Marshall said he will continue to study his duties as a middle linebacker.

"I'm all right with it," Marshall said. "They need me to play fullback. ... I'm just helping the team. I want to be a team player, and team players do things like this."

Mealey was third on the team with 36 yards rushing on 11 carries. He also has seven catches for 45 yards. He missed his rookie season with a knee injury that he suffered in the first preseason game. Last year, he missed the latter part of the year with a broken leg. This year, he has been bothered by a nagging hamstring injury.

Brooks, 6-5 and 314 pounds, has played in 95 career games, including a streak of 88 consecutive games to begin his NFL career, and started 62. Originally a second-round draft selection by Philadelphia in 1995, he started 45 games over his first three seasons.

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