Packers RB Michael makes his debut at practice

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Newly acquired running back Christine Michael takes part in his first practice with the Packers.

GREEN BAY - Much like they did with Knile Davis after acquiring him in a trade, the Green Bay Packers will try to create a package or two within the offense so they can get newly acquired running back Christine Michael on the field as quickly as possible.

Whether they can do that in time for this week is a big if.

Michael, claimed off waivers from Seattle Wednesday, was still en route Thursday morning when the Packers were in meetings going over their weekly game plan and reviewing practice from the previous day, but he made in time to hit the field with his new teammates. He will have three days to prepare for the Packers' meeting with Washington Sunday night.

"I haven't met him yet," McCarthy said at his press conference about an hour before practice. "He's in route. We'll see how it goes when he gets here. He'll obviously have the physical that he has to go through with our medical staff.

"(I'm) looking forward to working with Christine. Really liked him as a player, liked him coming out of (Texas) A&M. I think he's definitely dynamic. Once again, I think that's probably a better question for tomorrow."

Based on last week, James Starks has moved into the No. 1 running back position and Ty Montgomery will be No. 2. Montgomery missed practice due to an illness not related to sickle-cell trait and will see a lot of action in practice today to get him caught up. Michael took part in some individual fundamental drills, but it's likely he won't do much with the offense in team drills.

McCarthy said general manager Ted Thompson came down to Clarke Hinkle Field near the end of practice to discuss whether to claim Michael on waivers.

Not long before that, McCarthy said, rookie running back Don Jackson injured his knee during a drill. It's not clear whether the Michael decision was already being considered or if the injury caused the personnel department to start looking for running backs. Jackson was put on injured reserve to make room for Michael on the 53-man roster.

"Unfortunate," McCarthy said of Jackson's injury. "During team period yesterday, it was kind of an outside zone play, he made a hard cutback on a play and had a knee injury. Unfortunate. A real fine, young man. Really has a bright future."

McCarthy said he was aware of Michael coming out of college and called him a "dynamic" athlete. He said there would be some carryover from Seattle's offense to Green Bay's, but as was the case with Davis, it would take some time for him to get comfortable with everything the Packers are doing.

"I love his running style," McCarthy said. "Once again, he's productive, his ability to get in and out of breaks. I think the one thing I know best about him is just the way he's able to change direction and explode on the second and third cuts. I think he's a good fit for us."

McCarthy said he wasn't worried about reports that Michael was immature and wasn't professional in his approach to the game. One scout said Wednesday that Michael was still learning how to be a pro four years into his career.

The Seahawks cut him despite the fact he had started seven games and was their leading rusher.

"That's really part of the process," McCarthy said. "We've got great culture in there and we're looking forward to welcoming him to our football team and him being part of that culture."

While Montgomery returned to practice, guard T.J. Lang (ankle) and linebacker Jake Ryan (ankle) did not and probably aren't good bets to play this week. The Packers don't have to declare their status until Friday. Also missing practice was CB Damarious Randall (groin surgery) and C JC Tretter (knee).

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