After a 16-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday night, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy lamented the loss of tight end Richard Rodgers to injury because it took his team out of its two-tight-end sets, a significantly large portion of their offensive playbook.
On Tuesday, the Packers announced they had added rookie tight end Emanuel Byrd to their 53-man roster by calling him up from the practice squad. Byrd joined the Packers in early August and earned a spot on the practice squad with a solid training camp, where he demonstrated a quick acclimation to the playbook and intriguing upside as an athlete. He will back up starting tight end Lance Kendricks.
Byrd played quarterback and tight end at Georgia Military College before transferring to Marshall. He played in 21 games over a two-year period at Marshall, catching 45 passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns. The Kansas City Chiefs signed Byrd after the draft but released him Aug. 1.
In a corresponding move, the Packers placed second-year offensive tackle Jason Spriggs on injured reserve because of a knee injury he suffered on the first play from scrimmage against the Vikings. While McCarthy would not get into the specifics of the injury when he met with reporters Sunday, he did say that Spriggs had suffered a “serious, serious injury.”
Spriggs had returned from an early stay on injured reserve and gone on to start five games in place of Bryan Bulaga, who tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of the Packers' November loss to the Detroit Lions.
With both Bulaga and Spriggs sidelined by serious injuries, offensive tackle could be a major need heading into the offseason for general manager Ted Thompson.