If you're wondering what ever happened to former 1st round pick DT Justin Harrell, you're probably not alone. In his first two NFL seasons he's only played in 13 games and recorded 28 tackles. Lori Nichol has a good recap of his injury history:
- 2006 (college) torn biceps tendon.
- 2007 ankle injury.
- 2008 back injury, which led to two back surgeries, but they didn't work:
Then he spent the offseason planning to rehabilitate and strengthen the back. But the pain wouldn't subside and that alarmed him heading into summer workouts. So Rob Davis, the former long snapper and current director of player development with the team, suggested Harrell try acupuncture. And go figure - a half-hour session with Green Bay chiropractor Dennis Plansky relieved Harrell of his pain. He is fine.
So we might have not seen the real Harrell play in either of the last two seasons. Now he's fine, and instead of playing at defensive tackle in a 4-3, he'll now be playing right defensive end in a 3-4.
It appeared he was stuck playing behind DE Cullen Jenkins at right defensive end, until today when he got to play at left end, and on one play ran over RT Allen Barbre, because DT B.J. Raji is unsigned and DT Johnny Jolly is out for a week with a walking boot on. Although his opportunities should be limited during the season because he'll only play during likely rushing situations.
There hasn't been a lot of production from the former 1st round pick, but two seasons later, he's finally healthy and at least will provide depth on the defensive line.