Wide receiver/return specialist Jeremy Ross has been released by the Green Bay Packers, general manager Ted Thompson announced on Monday.
Ross’s release comes one day after muffing a kickoff that led to a turnover and eventually a Cincinnati Bengals touchdown that put the Packers in a 14-0 hole in the first quarter.
He didn’t play much on offense, but Ross did have one catch for eight yards in his brief Packers career, and actually filled in as an emergency running back on Sunday.
The attention now turns to what the Packers will do on returns with Ross out of the picture.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has several times expressed a desire to relieve Randall Cobb’s special teams duties because of his value to the offense, but he’s also the most experienced and reliable returner on the team.
Even with Ross on the team, Cobb was still asked to return kicks and punts in the most crucial situations through the first three games of the season.
During the preseason, the Packers gave an extended look to cornerback Micah Hyde on punt returns, he did a credible job averaging 12.5 yards on two attempts and making four fair catches.
It’s possible the Packers could use Hyde and Cobb in a time share much like they were doing with Ross.
During training camp, the Packers gave a few opportunities to running back Johnathan Franklin, but he had only one return in a preseason game for 14 yards.
Perhaps after an impressive showing on Sunday on offense, the Packers will be more inclined to give Franklin more opportunities with the ball in his hands.
There’s always the opportunity the Packers sign a free agent for a return specialist as well. A few weeks ago they had running back Joe McKnight in for a workout. McKnight has third-best all-time kick return average.
It’s worth noting that the Packers will be short-handed at wide receiver without Ross, however, down to just four players: Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin.
Fellow wide receivers Charles Johnson and Myles White could be in line for promotions from the practice squad, as could be running back Michael Hill is injuries linger at his position.
Ross played in eight regular-season games over the past two seasons for the Packers. He averaged 17.9 yards on nine kickoff returns, 20.5 yards on six punt returns