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Tight ends, 1 hurt, another cut

by Mark Daniels

An interesting day at camp. Has the tight end position become cursed? Jermichael Finley's career went on hold when he made an innocent looking catch against the Cleveland Browns last fall. The collision that brought him down left him with a damaged spinal column requiring a C3-C4 cervical fusion operation. As of yet, Finley hasn't been medically cleared by the Packers to return. The unrestricted free agent isn't likely to return. That left a wide open derby for the starting job. Brandon Bostick appeared on his way to winning it when he went down against the St. Louis Rams last Saturday. Today, on crutches, Bostick said it's going to be a couple of weeks before he's ready to return. The Packers drafted a tight end in the third round, Richard Rodgers of Cal to join the fray. They even gave Colt Lyerla a free agent contract. Lyerla's history is well documented at the University of Oregon. Quitting the team last October, running afoul of the law over drugs, comments that raised eyebrows about the Sandy Hook incident. Yet the Pack took a shot by signing the undrafted tight end. On Family Night, Lyerla caught a pass and tried to hurdle a defender. He landed funny and as a result,, apparently suffered a torn MCL and PCL in his knee. Today, the Packers cut Lyerla, according to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky. Rather than place him on injured reserve, the team gave Lyerla an injury settlement with the hope he clears waviers over the next 24 hours and can return to the team on the practice squad. That squad was just expanded to 10 players per team for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. It was Jake Stoneburner day at tight end, he was given an opportunity to work with the number one offense. The other returners at the position, Andrew Quarless and Ryan Taylor, have also been given similar opportunities. This is a fight that will go to the finish.

The team was put through a vigorous workout in pads, back outside on Ray Nitschke Field. Mike McCarthy called it a regular season Thursday practice, usually the heaviest of the week. Even though the popping was there, the half line combo drill went fight free. Casey Hayward was eased out of most team drills as a precaution according to McCarthy and T.J. Lang didn't finish when his bothersome left shoulder took a whack. He watched the final 30 minutes with ice wrapped around the shoulder.

Mason Crosby remains in a groove. During a field goal session, Crosby hit five out of six, making good from 33, 38, 42, 46 and 53 yards. His only miss was wide right from 44. Crosby, like the rest of the NFL kickers, were asked to convert extra points from 33 yards away, snapped at the 15 yard line instead of the two. PAT's have become ridiculously automatic and for the most part unchallenged so the competition committee moved 'em back on an experimental basis for the first two weeks of this Preseason. I caught up with Mason and asked him what he thought:

Audio: Mason Cosby.

GM Ted Thompson held his weekly media session today and he covered a couple of topics, the crescendo of the training camp and Preseason with the first roster cuts looming, the reunion with several protoge's in the coming weeks and the idea, adopted after his press conference, of a new 10 man practice squad.

Audio: Ted Thompson.

Just wanted to thank Ted one more time for paying a visit to the 5th Quarter Show on Monday night. Not many GM's make the talk show circuit locally but Ted's been gracious enough to be our guest in each of the 10 years on the job. Judging from the fans at the Stadium View, they're just as appreciative for what he's done for the Packers.