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Packers sign former Browns, Jets linebacker James Burgess, per report

Burgess comes to Green Bay from the Falcons’ practice squad.

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

As the Green Bay Packers continue to move through the 2020 season below the NFL’s active roster limit of 53, the team has some opportunities to add when they see an intriguing player. On Tuesday, they have reportedly done just that, plucking a player from another team’s practice squad.

The Packers have signed linebacker James Burgess on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, signing Burgess off the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad.

2020 is Burgess’ fifth in the NFL. As an undrafted rookie in 2016, he bounced around on five different teams’ practice squads before settling with the Cleveland Browns on a futures contract after the season. He then went on to play in 14 games for Cleveland in 2017, starting nine games and recording 75 total tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble, and three pass breakups. Burgess only played in three games in 2018 before landing on injured reserve.

In 2019, Burgess landed with the New York Jets, who activated him from their practice squad a few weeks into the season following injuries to their starting linebackers. He played in the Jets’ final ten games, starting each one at inside linebacker and totaling 80 tackles, a half-sack, an interception, and a safety.

A smaller player at about six feet and 230 pounds, Burgess had a relatively productive college career for the Louisville Cardinals. As a three-year starter, he totaled 260 tackles (30 for losses), four sacks, and seven interceptions.

Burgess appears likely to play a role on special teams early on in Green Bay, but his starting experience with two different teams over the past three years could give him a pathway to some snaps on defense. He may have to compete with rookie Kamal Martin as well, as the fifth-round draft pick appears headed back from injured reserve in short order.

While the Packers did not confirm the news as yet, they did announce a pair of additional roster transactions on Tuesday afternoon. The team has moved cornerback Parry Nickerson to injured reserve after he suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday in Tampa Bay. Green Bay also released wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb from the practice squad, just a few days after he signed with the team.