Pack signs four, releases Hunter

The Packers signed four tryout players on Monday. To get to the roster limit, they released Jason Hunter. Among those signed was former University of Pittsburgh punter Adam Graessle, who impressed at a recent kicking camp and punted well at last weekend's rookie camp.

Asked where he found tryout punter Adam Graessle, Packers coach Mike McCarthy joked: "He's from Pittsburgh."

Apparently, Graessle's ties to McCarthy's hometown — as well as his performance at the Packers' rookie camp this past weekend — were enough to get him a contract.

The Packers signed Graessle on Monday, according to agent Mark Mersel. Later, the Packers announced the signings of Graessle, offensive tackle Dane Randolph, nose tackle/defensive end Dean Muhtadi and cornerback Trevor Ford. To get to the 80-player roster limit, they released linebacker Jason Hunter.

Hunter signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He played in 42 games and posted the first two sacks of his career last season. In 2007, his 25 special-teams tackles were the most by a Packer since current director of college scouting John Dorsey posted 30 coverage tackles in 1985. But Hunter had just three special-teams tackles last season. Apparently, the coaches didn't believe Hunter will be able to make the move to outside linebacker and think some of the rookies can fill the void on special teams.

Meanwhile, the Packers' quest to find a quality punter continued with the signing of Graessle.

"I thought their workout was good (Saturday)," McCarthy said on Sunday morning of Graessle and Louisiana Tech's Chris Keagle. "I don't want to mess up their names ... the University of Pittsburgh, he's a stronger leg. He's been impressive."

The signing gives the Packers three punters on the roster, at least for the moment. Jeremy Kapinos replaced Derrick Frost for the last month of last season and performed well in horrible conditions. After the season, they signed Durant Brooks, who was Washington's sixth-round draft choice in 2008 and beat out Frost before being released at midseason.

A source told Packer Report that the Packers might keep all three punters for two or three weeks before deciding on which two to take through the rest of the offseason and training camp.

Graessle averaged 42.6 yards per punt for the University of Pittsburgh from 2004 through 2006 but has been out of football since. Mersel said the 6-foot-5 Graessle had a "monster leg" — he had punts of 73 and 79 yards as a sophomore — but was inconsistent. Since then, he's refined his technique. During a kicking camp in Phoenix last month that was attended by 26 teams, Mersel said Graessle "just blew away the competition."

"You have a lot of these kicking camps going on, and (special teams coordinator) Shawn Slocum has participated in those, as far as looking for prospects. (Assistant director of pro personnel) Eliot Wolf does a very good job in that aspect of tracking those punters and kickers. We have a board very similar to our draft board as far as the players that are out there, and he's definitely someone that we've been looking at."

— The Packers signed Randolph to a three-year contract, according to agent Mike Abadir. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder provides additional depth at right tackle, a position without longtime starter Mark Tauscher (free agent; torn ACL) and Breno Giacomini (ankle surgery) are unavailable.

"He's done a nice job," McCarthy said of Randolph on Sunday. "I know (offensive line coach) James Campen and I talked to (offensive coordinator) Joe Philbin a little bit last night. He's definitely someone who's made an impression with both the coaching staff and the personnel department."

— The 6-foot-3, 288-pound Muhtadi will join undrafted signee Ronald Talley of Delaware in the mix at defensive end. Muhtadi had 2.5 sacks in 13 games last season and was named to the ACC's all-academic team. He was one of the strongest players on the team last season and did 34 bench-press reps of 225 pounds at his pro day.

— Ford spent his first two seasons at Florida State before transferring to Troy. With Sherrod Martin (second round, Carolina) manning one of the corner slots, the 6-foot Ford played in 13 games last season with no interceptions, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

All of the tryout signees received three-year contracts with no signing bonuses.

With that, the Packers apparently are set at quarterback with only Aaron Rodgers, Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn. Barring another roster move — the signings put the Packers at the limit of 80 — neither of the tryout quarterbacks, Brian Johnson of Utah and David Johnson of Tulsa, were asked to stick around.

Two players with Wisconsin ties, New Mexico State defensive end Rhyan Anderson of Oak Creek and University of Wisconsin-River Falls center Scott Witte, didn't earn a contract, either. Nor did former North Carolina State standout Darrell Blackman, who averaged 28.6 yards per kickoff return for his career.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.


Packer Report Top Stories