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Packers cut Henderson

Veteran fullback officially released

By TOM SILVERSTEIN
tsilverstein@journalsentinel.com
Posted: March 7, 2007

On the same day that Atlanta free agent fullback Justin Griffith was in for a visit, the Green Bay Packers officially released veteran fullback William Henderson.

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The Packers' interest in Griffith isn't piping hot and there's no guarantee he'll be a member of the team next season, mostly because general manager Ted Thompson seems more interested in building from within than importing someone else's players.

Thompson is in the position of replacing the backfield that fueled the Packers' offense for the past seven seasons, but the free agent options for replacing Ahman Green and Henderson are limited. So for good or bad, Vernand Morency, Noah Herron, Brandon Miree and others are the future for the Packers as of right now.

"I think it's the way the cookie crumbles," Thompson said Wednesday of starting over in the backfield. "It's part of business. It happens at all different positions. That's part of the task we're faced with. I think the best way to get better is to improve from within.

"We have to focus on the talent we have at a lot of different positions. We have to get guys in the off-season program and develop guys."

Henderson, who turned 36 last month, didn't fit the profile of the players Thompson wants to move forward with, and the GM made the decision that it was time to move on. There was talk about Henderson retiring, but Thompson said Henderson wanted to see whether he could catch on with another team.

"He can always retire as a Packer as far as I'm concerned," Thompson said. "He had some great years. Are you kidding me? He played in more games (188) than all but a couple guys (Brett Favre, Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke), which is a remarkable achievement. He's been durable. He's a professional, great in the locker room."

Henderson's release leaves Miree as the starter, but it's very likely he'll have to compete with a free agent or draft pick for his job. The Packers used their tight ends last year as fullbacks and can rely on Bubba Franks and Tory Humphrey to handle the position as well.

Final numbers: This is how much the Miami Dolphins thought of former Packers tight end David Martin: three years, $3.57 million.

Martin received a $1.2 million signing bonus to go along with base salaries of $595,000 in 2007, $730,000 in '08 and $745,000 in '09. He has $75,000 roster bonuses each year tied to the number of games in which he is on the 53-man roster, $25,000 workout bonuses each year and $100,000 in incentives based on his number of catches.

Last year, Martin was the Packers' best tight end, but he missed five games due to injury. Over the past three seasons he had missed 16 games due to injury and never caught more than 27 passes.

Signing on: Linebacker Tracy White, one of the team's best special teams players, re-signed with the team.

White, who led the team in special teams tackles with 17, was an unrestricted free agent.

No deal: The Packers were hoping to get free agent wide receiver Joe Horn in for a visit Friday, but Horn agreed to terms with Atlanta, according to ESPN.com.







From the March 8, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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