GREEN BAY, Wis. — Amari Rodgers‘ fumble against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, his fifth of the season, didn’t just cost him the punt return job. It cost him his roster spot with the Green Bay Packers.
The team released Rodgers on Tuesday, one day after it was noncommittal about his status as the returner.
Rodgers’ fumble against the Cowboys came early in the third quarter of a 14-14 game. The Cowboys turned that into a touchdown and scored again on their next possession to build a 28-14 lead. The Packers came back to win 31-28 in overtime, snapping a five-game losing streak.
Rodgers’ five fumbles, including four on punt returns, are the most by any non-quarterback in the NFL this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Defensive back Keisean Nixon replaced Rodgers on punt returns against the Cowboys and could continue in that role on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst traded a fourth-round pick to the Titans in order to move up seven spots to draft Rodgers in the third round (No. 85 overall) in 2021. Only one player drafted higher since 2019 is no longer on the Packers’ roster, and that’s 2019 third-round pick Jace Sternberger (No. 75 overall).
Rodgers averaged 8.3 yards per punt return this season and had just four catches for 50 yards as a receiver.
“I really like Amari Rodgers,” Packers special teams coach Rich Bisaccia said Monday. “Jersey No. 8 has put himself and put us in some bad situations. So you have to coach the man first, and then coach the player. We have to go through both of those things when these situations arise. So as of right now, we’re evaluating the position, and we’ll see how it turns out Thursday night.”
The Packers also released running back Kylin Hill, a 2021 seventh-round pick who played two games this season following his return from a torn ACL last year.
As opposed to Rodgers, who coach Matt LaFleur said was released solely because of a lack of production but not a lack of effort, the move with Hill fell into a different category.
“I realize he is in a loaded [running back] room, but regardless of your role — no matter how big or how small — we expect guys to come to work and just be supportive and own that role to the best of their ability,” LaFleur said. “When you don’t do that, this is what happens.”
The Packers re-signed running back Patrick Taylor to replace Hill. Taylor has bounced between the practice squad and the roster this season.
The Packers also designated receiver Randall Cobb to return to practice, and the team has until Thursday to activate him off injured reserve in order for him to play against the Titans on Sunday.