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Packers pick up OLB Chauncey Rivers off waivers, release LS Joe Fortunato

Green Bay makes their intention known at long snapper, while they add depth at their pass-rushing position following Randy Ramsey’s injury this week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 17 Arkansas at Mississippi State Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Green Bay Packers have released long snapper Joe Fortunato and have picked up former Baltimore Ravens pass-rusher Chauncey Rivers off of waivers. Hunter Bradley, the Packers’ 2020 long snapper, is the last remaining player at the position on the team, a sign that the former seventh-round pick will be the team’s starter for the fourth-straight season.

The waiver wire pickup of Rivers was desperately needed, as the Packers don’t have much depth at the position. While Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Rashan Gary are roster locks, Randy Ramsey, a significant special teams player and backup outside linebacker, was injured this week. Head coach had this less-than-optimistic comment on Ramsey’s injury: “Yeah, that was not a good injury. It’s a shame because he’s done so much, in terms of bringing that special teams value, but also he’s reliable when we’ve been putting him on defense as well...brings some much-needed depth to that position...hopefully, we get him back at some point.”

Behind Ramsey and the three roster locks, the Packers only had two other outside linebackers on their roster: 2020 seventh-round pick Jonathan Garvin and 2020 undrafted free agent Tipa Galeai. The team even had to use inside linebacker Kamal Martin at outside linebacker this week, as their numbers dropped at the position.

Rivers began his college career at the University of Georgia before he was automatically dismissed from the program for his third marijuana arrest in seven months. From there, Rivers transferred to East Mississippi Community College and became a focal point in Netflix’s Last Chance U series. The Packers’ last signing, prior to Rivers, was defensive lineman Josh Avery who also played at a Last Chance U school in Independence Community College in Kansas. Unlike Rivers, though, Avery was not at the school during Netflix’s time with the program.

Following his stint in junior college, Rivers returned to the SEC with Mississippi State, where he recorded 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks with the Bulldogs. In 2020, Rivers was signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens, where he spent the majority of the season on the team’s practice squad. Rivers was activated to the 53-man roster for one week, but he was not a game day active. Without a preseason in 2020 due to Covid, Rivers’ first NFL snaps in either a preseason or regular-season game will likely come as a Green Bay Packer.