Peprah Relishes Second Chance

The fifth-year safety is thrilled to be back in Green Bay and with a team he thinks could be special. Unlike 2008, when Peprah had a chance to start, he's in the scramble for a roster spot.

After a rousing start to training camp in 2008, Charlie Peprah was about to push Atari Bigby for the starting job. Then Peprah injured a hamstring.

The rest, as they say, is history. And Peprah was history last year, with a training camp knee injury leading to him being placed on season-ending injured reserve and eventually released with an injury settlement.

After playing in two games with Atlanta last season, Peprah is back with the Packers and in the middle of a battle to win a roster spot as a backup to starters Nick Collins and Morgan Burnett.

"It was a journey, getting to see the other side of the league, moving around, going through the injury settlement process, rehab process, the tryout process and all that stuff that a lot of people might not see in their career. It was different but it's all part of a journey," Peprah told Packer Report last week.

Peprah, a fifth-round pick by the Giants in 2006, loves Green Bay and didn't want to leave. When he was waived, the Packers told him they'd like to bring him back after the mandatory six-week waiting period. Peprah didn't want to gamble, and he wound up signing with the Falcons and playing in two games.

"Timing's got to be right, you have to have room on the roster, all those different things," Peprah said. "It's a business and I've got to take care of my family, too. I felt what I did was right. I went with the first team that made sense to me. When I had the opportunity to come back, I weighed my options and felt like it made sense for me to come back as far as the scheme and their approach on defense and the direction the team was going. It's special over here and I wanted to be a part of it."

Peprah, who started one game at safety in 2008, was a key player on special teams in 2007 (14 tackles and two forced fumbles in 18 games, including playoffs) and 2008 (nine tackles in 13 games).

Unlike a couple years ago, when the former Alabama standout had a chance to start, Peprah is settling for reps with the second and third teams. He was something of a long shot to make the team until Bigby's ankle required surgery. With Bigby out for at least a few more weeks and Will Blackmon trying to come back from a torn ACL, Peprah's odds have increased. The other safetys on the roster are special-teams standout Derrick Martin and impressive undrafted rookie Anthony Levine.

"Charlie's been steady. I've been very pleased with his progress," safeties coach Darren Perry said. "He's got a very good command of our defense, our communication. He's doing a fine job. Quietly, he's had a really good camp for us. He's shown us that he's capable of being a guy who can come in and help this football team win some games."

Peprah, whose jarring hit on Jordy Nelson knocked the receiver out of the Family Night Scrimmage, knows his ticket to the roster will be based on special teams as much as it's his ability to break up a deep pass at the sideline. Collins is a two-time Pro Bowler and Burnett is getting all of the starters reps in hopes of getting him ready for the regular season.

"Right now, Morgan's doing a great job of learning the defense and being plugged in there," Peprah said. "I want to let the coaches know that I can still play and hoping that they'll keep me around. I'll do whatever they ask of me. I just want to be a part of this team. I really do feel they got something special here and I'm glad to be a part of it."


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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. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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