The Green Bay Packers parted ways with one of last season’s special teams stalwarts on Friday, just two days prior to the start of the 2017 season. Fullback Joe Kerridge was placed on injured reserve last Saturday when the Packers cut down their roster to 53 players. Today Kerridge appeared on the NFL’s transaction report, as the Packers released him from IR with an injury settlement.
Kerridge’s calf injury kept him out of the final preseason game of the year, after he had played a substantial number of snaps in the Packers’ first few exhibition games. Ultimately, even though he had a decent summer, it was unlikely that the Packers would keep two fullbacks on the roster, especially with significant needs at other positions on the roster.
The injury settlement is for an unknown duration, but it will prevent the Packers from bringing Kerridge back for specified period of time. In general, the settlement pays out a player’s base salary for a certain number of weeks, and that player cannot return to that same team for that amount of time plus an additional six weeks. As an example, if Kerridge were paid out for four weeks, he could not return to the Packers until after week ten.
Ultimately, this leaves the Packers with Aaron Ripkowski as the sole fullback on the roster. Ripkowski played little during the preseason, but that was likely due to him being a lock for the roster and the team giving Kerridge more opportunities to make an impression. When they had both players on the roster for the second half of the 2016 season, the Packers became one of the only teams to carry two fullbacks on the team at any point last year.
The Packers still have two players on injured reserve: linebacker David Talley and offensive lineman Don Barclay. Barclay is eligible to return later this season, as he was placed on IR after the final cuts.