Manuel, Rayner axed in final cutdown

The Green Bay Packers reduced their roster to the NFL mandated 53 players today by placing 20 players on waivers, trading for a running back, and placing three players on injured reserve.

The Green Bay Packers today released 20 players, placed three on injured reserve and traded for another player Saturday, the Packers announced.

Players released by position include:
Paul Thompson

Running back
Fullback Brandon Miree
Running back Corey White

Tight end
Zac Alcorn
Clark Harris

Offensive linemen
Guard Travis Leffew
Guard Adam Stenavich
Tackle Orrin Thompson

Wide receiver
Shaun Bodiford
David Clowney
Chris Francies
Calvin Russell

Defensive end
Larry Birdine

Tim Goodwell
Rory Johnson
Spencer Havner

Marquand Manuel
Alvin Nnabuife

Patrick Dendy

Kicker Dave Rayner

Safety Tyrone Culver, linebacker Abdul Hodge and guard Tyson Walter were placed on injured reserve.

The Packers also acquired running back Ryan Grant from the New York Giants for an undisclosed future draft pick. Grant, a graduate of Notre Dame, spent the 2005 season on the Giants' practice squad and the 2006 season on injured reserve.

General manager Ted Thompson is scheduled to address the team's final cutdown Sunday afternoon.

The Packers, for now, have two quarterbacks, two tight ends and five linebackers on their roster. By keeping one less play than normal at those positions, the Packers were able to load up at other positions, including running back, defensive line and cornerback.

Rookie DeShawn Wynn, who has been bothered by a quadriceps injury, made the team based on his performance in the preseason finale at Tennessee. Wynn gained 54 yards on 21 carries in Green Bay's 30-14 loss to the Titans. He joins, Grant, Vernand Morency, Brandon Jackson and fullback Korey Hall. With Miree released, Hall is the team's only fullback, though, Wynn also can play fullback.

The Packers will enter the season with 11 defensive linemen, though, defensive end Mike Montomery is recovering from a knee injury and will not be available until later this month.

Rookie free agent Daniel Muir is one of six defensive tackles that the Packers are retaining.

The Packers also kept one more than the usual five cornerbacks by favoring veteran Frank Walker and free agent Tramon Williams over Patrick Dendy, who started three games last season for the Packers and had three interceptions.

Mason Crosby edged out Dave Rayner in the place-kicking battle. Crosby, a sixth round draft pick, was consistent with his kickoffs and edged Rayner by a few field goals in practice to win the job.

Though the Packers have two quarterbacks, Carlyle Holiday, the team's fifth wide receiver, can play the position in case of a disaster. Holiday played quarterback in 2003 and some in 2004 at Notre Dame. It is the first time since 1987 that the Packers have entered a season with two quarterbacks.

The Packers gave up on Manuel, who was given a five-year, $10 million contract last year. He was beat out by Atari Bigby for the starting spot at strong safety.

By placing Culver on injured reserve, Charlie Peprah made the team at safety presumably based on his strong performance against Tennessee on Thursday.

The Packers can forming an eight-man practice squad, beginning at 11 a.m. (CDT) Sunday. Chances are good that Green Bay will try to sign Clowney, Harris, White, and Thompson to the squad.

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