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Packers make it official: Al Harris released

Nov. 6, 2013 11:21 AM
 
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The Packers made official what had been reported Sunday night: cornerback Al Harris is not in the team's future plans and was released. "We want to thank Al for his contributions to the Green Bay Packers,” said Packers General Manager Ted Thompson in a prepared statement this morning. “His hard work, dedication and professionalism have been the keys to his success. During his time here, he has been a valuable member of our organization and our community. We wish him the very best in the future and he will always be a part of the Packer family.” Harris blew out his knee last November and then underwent a rigorous rehabilitation process. He was placed on the Packers' physically unable to perform list (PUP) at the start of training camp. He started practicing with the team three weeks ago. The Packers had until today to decide what to do with Harris: either cut him, activate him or place him on injured reserve.  During his press conference this morning, coach Mike McCarthy fielded several questions about Harris. *He said the team looked at everything involved in making the decision, including the development of the other cornerbacks on the roster and special teams contributions. He called it  a big-picture decision. *All options were reviewed, including the possibility of putting Harris on injured reserve. *McCarthy has not spoken to Harris one on one since Friday. He said Thompson tried to reach Harris this morning but wasn't sure if he made contact. *McCarthy said the team has been up front during the entire process. When asked about reports that Harris didn't agree with that assessment, McCarthy defended the professionalism in which the team handled Harris.  *McCarthy said the final decision on Harris was made at 10:30 this morning. *McCarthy doesn't think the decision will impact morale among players. He said he trusts the leadership in the locker room.  *McCarthy said Harris did a tremendous job during his rehab and thought he progressed during his three weeks of practice. He thanked Harris for his dedication and called cutting him a tough decision. *McCarthy believes Harris will play again in the NFL. McCarthy addressed some other topics during his presser: *The Packers have until Wedneseday to make a decision on running back James Starks, who is also on the PUP list. *Coming back from the bye there will be some players still listed as questionable due to injuries. A week of rest will help but the Packers won't necessarily be playing at full strength against the Vikings in their first game back after the bye. *Sam Shields will be the Packers' kickoff returner going forward. He had one return for 49 yards against the Cowboys on Sunday. McCarthy said Shields has the chance to be a big time returner. *Left tackle Chad Clifton has been playing as well as McCarthy has ever seen him over the past three weeks. He's been a dynamic pass protector and is doing a better job on run blocking.  *The Nick Collins helmet to helmet penalty was a bang-bang play. When McCarthy saw the replay, it looked to him like Collins hit the receiver in the back and came up to the helmet. He called it a tough call but understands why the refs threw the flag. *The next couple days will be spent self scouting with his coaching staff. *The bye week comes at a good time. He said his team needed a significant amount of time off. He knew playing 9 games prior to the bye would be a challenge. *Injured cornerback Pat Lee is improving. He won't have a status update on him until next week. Ryan Pickett sprained his ankle. His status for the Vikings game is unknown.

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.
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