Greg Van Roten was rewarded for his patience Saturday.
The Green Bay Packers promoted the 6-foot-3, 303-pound rookie offensive lineman off their practice squad and onto their 53-man roster in time for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
The University of Pennsylvania alumnus assumes the roster spot vacated by running back Cedric Benson, who last week was placed on injured reserve with designation to return with a Lisfranc injury.
Van Roten went undrafted last April after being a three-year starting tackle for the Quakers. Afterward, he decided to attend the San Diego Chargers’ rookie orientation on a tryout basis over the Packers because the Chargers called him first.
He spent the summer unsigned before getting the call from Green Bay on July 25, the day before training camp when the Packers released veteran safety Charlie Peprah.
Van Roten, 22, posted a 31-9 record during one-on-one drills during training camp to gain coaches’ attention, but was among the team’s final cuts before signing onto the team’s practice squad, where he spent the last five weeks.
Even after receiving his initial release, Van Roten told his agent, Bill Baldini, he hoped he wasn’t claimed by another NFL team because he wanted to stay with the Packers after feeling a great deal of gratitude toward Packers director of pro personnel Eliot Wolf and the rest of the staff for giving him a shot before training camp.
“They were just a team that took a chance on me and this is a system I felt I fit in really well with,” Van Roten said after signing to the practice squad last month. “I would rather stay here, get developed and have a chance to make the 53 (-man roster) next year or sometime this year than go somewhere else where I’m maybe not as good of a fit and fizzle out after a year or two.”
Van Roten becomes the eighth offensive lineman on the Packers’ roster, joining tackle-guard Don Barclay and center-guard Evan Dietrich-Smith as the team’s reserves.