Green Bay Packers linebacker Kamal Martin may have had surgery on his knee this week, but head coach Matt LaFleur isn’t going to divulge any information about his rookie’s situation until he has to.
“We’ll put out an injury report next Wednesday,” was the only reply LaFleur had to questions about Martin’s status, which came in the coach’s media availability three days before final cuts. That status has put the Packers’ linebacker position in flux, as there have been many indications that the rookie was running with the starters lately. LaFleur did compliment Martin’s early progress, however, saying that he had made a lot of plays and progressed well in the mental side of the game: “he’s shown that he can handle everything that our defensive coaches, Pett (coordinator Mike Pettine) and KO (linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti), have put on his plate.”
Thankfully, the team got some good news as third-year pro Oren Burks was back at practice on Wednesday, but this still leaves the team with question marks at the linebacker position heading into cut-down weekend. He acknowledged that the group has a lengthy injury history, including expected starter Christian Kirksey: “That’s real, but we have faith in these guys that are on our roster that they’re going to be able to step in.” Still, he feels confident in all of the players at that unit: “We’ll be ready to play with whoever it is that’s in there at linebacker.”
The situation with Martin may force the team’s hand a bit at cut-down time, however. LaFleur acknowledged that his coaching staff and the personnel department will be working hard leading up to the deadline at 3 PM Central on Saturday, saying “there are definitely some tough decisions ahead of us.” LaFleur also did not rule out acquiring players released by other teams to help bolster the roster, even despite the difficulties that the coronavirus pandemic presents to bringing those players into the facility. “We’re always going to look at ways to improve our roster, whether it’s somebody getting cut from another team who we think can potentially help us.”
The Packers returned to practice on Wednesday after LaFleur’s press conference, following an off day Tuesday. According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Burks and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown were back at practice while Martin and right tackle Billy Turner were new non-participants.