Kicker Dave Rayner Booted Out of Green Bay

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

Released Saturday were tight end Zac Alcorn, defensive end Larry Birdine, wide receiver Shaun Bodiford, wide receiver David Clowney, cornerback Patrick Dendy, wide receiver Chris Francies, linebacker Tim Goodwell, tight end Clark Harris, linebacker Spencer Havner, linebacker Rory Johnson, guard Travis Leffew, safety Marquand Manuel, fullback Brandon Miree, safety Alvin Nnabuife, kicker Dave Rayner, wide receiver Calvin Russell, guard Adam Stenavich, tackle Orrin Thompson, quarterback Paul Thompson and running back Corey White.

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

The Packers 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.

The Cut Players' Breakdown...

Safety Marquand Manuel lost his starting position with the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago and, on Saturday, he lost his place on the team.

Desperate to get anything via trade for Manuel, the Packers found no takers and ended up waiving him along with 19 other players as they reached the roster limit of 53.

As presently configured, the Packers' roster probably is the most misshapen that it has been in years.

The Packers will enter a season with only two quarterbacks for the first time since 1989. They've never gone in with just two tight ends, so expect them to add another. And they have merely five linebackers, their fewest total since '99.

On the other hand, the Packers kept 11 defensive linemen, undoubtedly a club record, and 10 defensive backs, something they've done only once in the last 15 years.

Besides Manuel, six other players from the '06 regular-season roster were cut, including former starting fullback Brandon Miree, kicker Dave Rayner, cornerback Patrick Dendy, wide receivers Shaun Bodiford and Chris Francies, and tight end Zac Alcorn.

Two draft choices, wide receiver David Clowney (fifth round) of Virginia Tech and tight end Clark Harris (seventh) of Rutgers, were released.

Seven "street" free agents were trimmed, including wide receiver Calvin Russell, tackle Orrin Thompson, guard-tackles Adam Stenavich and Travis Leffew, linebackers Spencer Havner and Tim Goodwell, and safety Alvin Nnabuife.

On the list of departing rookie free agents were quarterback Paul Thompson, running back Corey White, defensive end Larry Birdine and linebacker Rory Johnson.

Center Tyson Walter (toe), linebacker Abdul Hodge (knees) and safety Tyrone Culver (shoulder) were placed on injured reserve, automatically ending their seasons.

Walter's agent, Brad Leshnock, said his client suffered a complete ligament tear in his great toe at some point during the Tennessee game but still played the final three quarters. Walter will undergo surgery this week and be out 6 to 9 months.

"He didn't know it was that bad," Leshnock said. "They didn't have anybody else so he just played on."

Thompson touted Manuel as the answer at strong safety after signing him as an unrestricted free agent from Seattle in March 2006. Manuel did start every game but was almost a complete liability against both run and pass.

"That's not a surprise," a personnel director for an NFC team said Saturday night. "They got enough guys to do what he does. I kind of was hoping he'd stay."

Manuel collected $2.96 million from his $10 million, five year contract. His $1.26 million base salary for '07 voids, but the $900,000 portion of his $1.5 million signing bonus will count against the team's salary cap in '08.

Miree suffered a stinger early in camp, missed about two weeks and then didn't help himself in the final two exhibition games. One scout said Miree looked overweight on tape. His blocking lacked punch.

The cerebral Dendy, who replaced Ahmad Carroll as nickel back from Week 5 on last season, held that position until Aug. 20, the same day that Atari Bigby replaced Manuel. After losing his nickel job to Jarrett Bush, Dendy eventually lost his roster berth to unrestricted free agent Frank Walker and free agent Tramon Williams, a pair of more speedy players.

"I thought Dendy was solid but some of those other guys have surpassed him for sure," one scout said. "Walker's a solid player. It was worth it to get him. It was just a matter of time before he started playing."

Clowney, who's signing bonus was $170,000, and Francies were beaten out by rugged Carlyle Holiday, whose background at Notre Dame should enable him to serve as the No. 3 quarterback. Clowney is a natural for the eight-man practice squad that can be signed later today. Bodiford's chances were snuffed out when he suffered a sprained knee Aug. 18.

"Bodiford's a talented guy," one scout said. "If he's not there, he'll be somewhere."

Neither Alcorn nor Harris, whose signing bonus was $40,875, gave the Packers much reason to keep them.

"Harris can catch the ball very well but he can't run a lick," one scout said. "Alcorn is functional, but you could pretty much look at every roster and find a Zac Alcorn."

The most surprising cut to an NFL personnel man was Birdine, a free agent from Oklahoma who made a strong bid but lost the No. 5 end job to Jason Hunter.

"I'm guessing they'll try to bring him back on the practice squad but I don't see him making it," the scout said. "He made a ton of plays. If anyone else saw what I saw, he will get claimed."

Another rookie free agent in the defensive line, tackle / end Daniel Muir of Kent State, did make the club.

"But I liked Birdine more than Muir," the scout said. "Muir is functional. You won't ever feel you need him. I liked Birdine a lot."

At linebacker, the Packers might still be looking. Johnson, a standout at Mississippi in '06, missed a week early in camp with an abdominal strain and never showed much after that.

"You've got a lot of athleticism with Johnson but not a lot of football ability," one scout said. "Havner's a good special-teams guy but doesn't give you much at the position. They still don't have much there."

Paul Thompson outlasted incumbent No. 3 quarterback Ingle Martin by a week but a second straight unimpressive game deep-sixed his hopes.

"But they'll put him on practice squad," one scout predicted. "I think he's got a bright future. Just watching him throw the ball, I was impressed. But he is raw as an onion."

Stenavich, an all-state high school player from Marshfield, Wis., lost out to guard-center Tony Palmer, who is supposed to return this week after missing almost three weeks with a pulled hamstring.

"He's a waist-bender in pass pro (protection)," one scout said, referring to Stenavich. "He really wasn't good or bad in the games."

White, whose signing bonus of $500 was the lowest of all the team's college free agents, made a good showing, finishing second in rushing with 108 yards in 34 carries (3.2 average).

"Just a straight-line, get-you-through-a-game guy," said one scout.


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