Packers release fumble-prone returner Rodgers

  • Covered Packers for Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1997-2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Amari Rodgers’ fumble against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, his fifth of the season, didn’t just cost him the punt return job. It cost him his roster spot with the Green Bay Packers.

The team released Rodgers on Tuesday, one day after they were non-committal about his status as the returner.

Rodgers’ fumble against the Cowboys came early in the third quarter of a 14-14 game. The Cowboys turned that into a touchdown and scored again on their next possession to build a 28-14 lead. The Packers came back to win 31-28 in overtime, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Rodgers’ five fumbles, including four on punt returns, are the most by any non-quarterback in the NFL this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Defensive back Keisean Nixon replaced Rodgers on punt returns against the Cowboys and could continue in that role on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst traded a fourth-round pick to the Titans in order to move up seven spots to draft Rodgers in the third round (No. 85 overall) in 2021. Only one player drafted higher since 2019 is no longer on the Packers’ roster, and that’s 2019 third-round pick Jace Sternberger (No. 75 overall).

Rodgers averaged 8.3 yards per punt return this season and had just four catches for 50 yards as a receiver.

“I really like Amari Rodgers,” Packers special teams coach Rich Bisaccia said Monday. “Jersey No. 8 has put himself and put us in some bad situations. So you have to coach the man first, and then coach the player. We have to go through both of those things when these situations arise. So as of right now, we’re evaluating the position, and we’ll see how it turns out Thursday night.”

The Packers also released running back Kylin Hill, a 2021 seventh-round pick who played two games this season following his return from a torn ACL last year.

They did not immediately add anyone to the active roster, but there’s a chance receiver Randall Cobb could be activated off injured reserve this week.

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