At the final cut-down day on Saturday when the Green Bay Packers trimmed their roster from 90 to 53 players, the team elected not to save any roster spots for players to go on injured reserve. One player went on IR as part of the cuts, which was a surprise; wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was widely expected to stick on the 53, making him eligible to return later this season, but the team shut him down prior to the cut deadline.
However, the Packers now have another player headed to injured reserve. That player is tight end Jace Sternberger, the team’s third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. His move to injured reserve appeared on the NFL’s transaction wire on Tuesday.
Sternberger missed most of the preseason with a concussion, which resulted from a hit by Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson during joint practices in early August. However, he returned in time for the preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, when he suffered a knee injury. Sternberger scored a touchdown in the first half, but went down awkwardly late in the second quarter and went to the locker room on a cart. He did return to the sideline after halftime, but did not go back in the game. Reportedly, the injury is a high ankle sprain, similar to that of Equanimeous St. Brown. However, St. Brown was placed on IR on Saturday.
Now that he is on injured reserve, he could return later this season. Players on IR may return to the active roster after a minimum of eight weeks, meaning that Sternberger can be eligible to return before the Packers’ week 9 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
To take Sternberger’s place on the active roster, the Packers have chosen to call up wide receiver Allen Lazard from the practice squad, according to The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. Lazard was one of the team’s last cuts on Saturday, and he went unclaimed through waivers before signing to the squad on Sunday afternoon. As a 6-foot-5, 227-pound player, Lazard offers excellent size and may be able to run some similar routes to what the team had planned for the 6-foot-4, 251-pound Sternberger, particularly as a big slot receiver. Lazard also offers special teams ability as a gunner on kick and punt coverage.
The Packers formally announced Lazard’s promotion on Wednesday morning.