GREEN BAY – Ricky Jean Francois understood why the Green Bay Packers cut him last week when an emergency arose on the offensive line and a roster spot was needed to add depth there.
The ninth-year veteran wasn’t even mad about it.
What irritated him, however, was that he had stuck around town for a while and when he finally decided to hop on a plane and leave, his phone rang and it was the Packers asking him to come back.
“Yesterday, I was going to Dallas and when I was in Minneapolis all I saw was my phone lighting up and I was like, ‘What’s up? What happened?’” Jean Francois said. “They were like, ‘We need you back in the building.’
“And I’m like, ‘What building?’ It was like here. I was like, ‘Oh.’”
The Packers booked a flight for Jean Francois to fly back from Minneapolis and signed him to a new deal Thursday. He rejoined the team in the morning, took part in practice and was back at his locker when he talked with reporters late afternoon.
Jean Francois had worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday and was told to go get his passport because the Saints are scheduled to play the Miami Dolphins in London on Oct. 1.
Had the Packers waited any longer, there’s a good possibility they would have lost Jean Francois to the Saints. In the end, the veteran defensive lineman felt he was back in the right place.
“I’m happy to be back,” Jean Francois said. “I really am happy just to go out there, being in practice, talking to the guys, joking around. It was good, but being in this position I’m in now, it’s a blessing.”
Expendable a week ago, Jean Francois became a necessity when defensive tackle Mike Daniels aggravated a hip injury in Atlanta. Daniels hasn’t practiced at all this week and isn’t likely to play Sunday. It’s unclear how long he might be out.
To make room for Jean Francois on the 53-man roster, the Packers placed tackle Jason Spriggs on injured reserve. The backup tackle has been out since suffering a hamstring injury against Seattle in Week 1.
Spriggs must sit a minimum of eight weeks. He’s eligible to return after that, but the Packers can only bring back two players on injured reserve this year, so there’s no guarantee he’ll be activated.
“It was explained,” Spriggs said. “I talked to (general manager) Ted (Thompson). We had a conversation and it went well. I understand. Nothing super negative. It will give me time to get healthy.”
Spriggs, who probably would have started against Atlanta had he been healthy, said his recovery time is not cast in stone. He suffered a significant strain of the muscle after his leg got caught in an awkward position while blocking on a place-kick.
“Hamstrings are something even if I feel better it might not be structurally better,” Spriggs said. “I could have been ready in three weeks, I could have been ready in six weeks, you just don’t know.”
Spriggs said the time off will help him focus on building up his body and studying the offense from a different perspective. The second-year pro struggled in training camp and allowed Kyle Murphy to steal the backup right tackle position from him.
Murphy wound up starting at left tackle against the Falcons even though he had not played the position since college.