Packers acquire Chiefs RB Knile Davis

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Running back Knile Davis looks to get past Packers linebacker Jake Ryan during a preseason game at Kansas City.
  • Davis being brought up to speed quickly at practice
  • Practice squad RB Don Jackson getting extensive practice reps
  • James Starks will be out several weeks after knee surgery

GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers, concerned about the status of running back Eddie Lacy for their Thursday night game against the Chicago Bears, have acquired Kansas City running back Knile Davis, the player’s agent confirmed Tuesday morning.

The Packers will send a late-round draft pick to the Chiefs, a league source told PackersNews. The pick reportedly will be conditional based on Davis' performance with the Packers.  Davis becomes the first player acquired by the Packers in a trade since safety Anthony Smith was obtained from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 18, 2010, for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Davis arrived in town Tuesday morning, took his physical and began the process of learning the Packers offense.

"Knile Davis actually I have not met yet," coach Mike McCarthy said during his 11:15 a.m. press conference. "He just arrived here. We’ll have an official announcement as we normally do, so really until we get going, the goal is to get him ready for practice today, and we’ll take it from there."

As of last night the Packers had told practice squad running back Don Jackson they were planning on signing him, so if both moves go through, it’s a pretty good sign the Packers aren’t expecting Lacy to be ready for action Thursday night. McCarthy said that Lacy would not be available for practice Tuesday and was "very sore."

He characterized the timeline for running back James Starks to return from knee surgery as "several weeks." Starks had an arthroscopic procedure Sunday to clean up debris in his knee and won't play against the Bears.

Jackson, who has been practicing a good deal with the offense since Lacy injured his ankle against the New York Giants, will be the lead back in practice this week. McCarthy wouldn't confirm that Jackson would be signed to the 53-man roster, but it remains an inevitability given Lacy's status. The Packers can wait until Wednesday or Thursday to sign him to the 53, thus allowing them to consider the roster move they'll make to find a spot for Jackson.

"Don Jackson will actually work," McCarthy said. "He’ll work some, but he’s obviously still a practice-squad member. We’ve got to make sure he’s ready, if needed."

The Packers have just two days of practice to get ready for Chicago. Davis should be available for action Thursday night and his experience as a third-down back could help McCarthy get through the game. Having played for West Coast disciple Andy Reid in Kansas City, Davis should have a basic understanding of McCarthy's system.

The key will be teaching him the protection scheme so he can play on third downs.

The 5-10, 227-pound Davis had fallen deep on the Chiefs’ depth chart with the emergence of Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West as capable backups to star running back Jamaal Charles, who recently returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last season. That made Davis expendable.

Davis started against the Packers in the final exhibition game Sept. 1 in Kansas City and had an impressive night, carrying 14 times for 58 yards and a touchdown. He also had one catch for 7 yards. In three-plus years, Davis has carried 233 times for 775 yards (3.3 average) and four touchdowns. He has 31 catches for 260 yards (8.4) and a touchdown.

"It’s a part of the NFL landscape," McCarthy said of training a new back. "Ideally, you work through these types of situations. It’s obviously a big challenge when you’re on a short week, but he’s definitely a talented young player. Obviously had a chance to compete against him and see him play live in the preseason game, and he had a lot of production that night.

"So just looking forward to getting him into the mix and get going.

Coming out of Arkansas in 2013, Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. He had a vertical jump of 33.5 inches and benched 225 pounds a remarkable 31 times. Davis was a third-round pick of the Chiefs, the No. 96 selection overall.

During his stint with the Chiefs, Davis scored three kickoff return touchdowns, including a memorable 106-yarder on the opening kick in a wildcard victory over the Houston Texans in January. Davis also had a 108-yard touchdown return as a rookie and a 99-yard touchdown return in 2014.

Since the start of the 2015 season, Davis has played in 18 games, but he only has 29 carries for 70 yards (2.5 average). This season, he only had one carry for minus-2.

Davis is in the final year of his four-year, $2,751,016 contract. He has a base salary of $675,000. The Packers will absorb 11/17th of that or $436,765 on their current salary cap.

Ryan Wood of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin contributed to this report.

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