The Green Bay Packers have had a decent battle for the third running back job in training camp this summer, but it appears that the competition has just been settled by an injury. Second-year back John Crockett seemed to be slightly ahead of his challenger, rookie Brandon Burks, for the job, but Crockett hurt his shoulder in Friday’s preseason game against the 49ers.
Crockett landed awkwardly on his shoulder and appeared to fumble the football, though the referees ruled him down by contact. The play was not challenged and the Packers were able to punt, but Crockett did not return to the game.
Today, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports that Crockett’s injury is serious enough so that it will keep him on the shelf into the regular season. Demovsky also says that Crockett expects to be waived with an injury designation. Tight end Mitchell Henry is also mentioned in the report as being in a similar situation, though he was well behind Justin Perillo in the battle for the roster.
This likely means that Burks wins the job by default if the Packers do indeed carry three tailbacks on the 53-man roster this season. Burks is a smaller back at a shade under 5’9”, but he showed good burst getting to the edge in a few of his runs this preseason. If he has another decent game in extended action on Thursday in the preseason finale, he should be able to feel comfortable with his roster spot come Saturday.
It’s an unfortunate situation for Crockett, but it is feasible that the Packers could pick him up again when he is healthier and return him to the active roster or the practice squad, where he still has eligibility.