Packers notebook

11 players released in first cutdown, Driver dodges bullet

The Green Bay Packers released 11 players today to reduce their roster to 76 players, Packers general manager Ted Thompson announced. The Packers released center C.J. Blomvall, wide receiver Carlton Brewster, fullback Erryn Cobb, punter Ryan Dougherty, defensive end DeVon Hicks, cornerback Antonio Malone, quarterback Ingle Martin, guard Pat Murray, running back P.J. Pope, linebacker Juwan Simpson, and tight end Joe Werner.

The roster cuts actually reduced Green Bay's roster to 76, instead of the league-mandated 75, but the Packers received an exemption for linebacker Carl-Johan Bjork, who played in NFL Europa this past spring.

All NFL teams must trim their rosters to 75 players by 3 p.m. (CDT) Aug. 28. Martin was selected by Green Bay as the first of two fifth round choices in the 2006 NFL draft. He was the designated third quarterback for all 16 games last season.

Martin struggled to complete passes throughout training camp while competing for the No. 3 spot behind Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Martin's interception late in the game against Jacksonville sealed his fate.

"He is a great kid," said Thompson of Martin. "He's done absolutely everything we've ever asked him. I'm sure he wished things would have gone better for him, but the world is round and he might be back on this team at some point."

Martin could be signed to the practice squad after the final cutdown Sept. 1, but the Packers are more likely to place Thompson on the practice squad. Thompson showed much more athletic ability and potential than Martin during training camp, but has to improve his accuracy.

It is possible that the Packers may enter the season with two quarterbacks. Carlyle Holiday played quarterback while at Notre Dame in 2003 before moving to receiver.

"We'd like to keep the best players," said Thompson.

Pope injured his knee early in training camp and agreed to an injury settlement with the Packers before he was placed on waivers.

"He had one of those injuries that was poor timing because he was still going to be dinged up at the start of the season," Thompson said. "Without him being able to compete for another couple of weeks, we just felt it wouldn't be good for him. Because we're hurting in other spots and trying to make it through this game (next Thursday at Tennessee), we felt it was time to make that move."

Driver feeling better
Wide receiver Donald Driver, who sustained a sprained right foot during Thursday night's preseason game against Jacksonville, could be ready to play in time or the regular season opener on Sept. 9 against Philadelphia.

Driver was injured late in the second quarter as he was tackled by safety Sammy Knight. He was carted off the field and had ice on his wounded foot after the game. Upon initial tests by team physicians, it was determined that Driver suffered a foot sprain.

"We're going to do some additional scans to make certain, but he was feeling better today in terms of pain and all that," said Thompson. "He thinks it goes along with what he thought last night, and it's 'we dodged something.'"

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