GREEN BAY – The “business of football” is an axiom floated often in National Football League locker rooms, especially when it comes to the cold-hearted nature of roster moves. The call to the facility — with the mandate to bring the playbook — can be heartbreaking for players.
But other times, it can bring joy.
That was the case for Antonio Morrison on Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts informed him he was being traded to Green Bay. Despite having started 15 games a year ago and playing in 31 games over his first two years in the league, the 23-year-old got the sense he was being phased out of the Colts’ 4-3 defense. He appeared in just 32 total snaps through the first three preseason games for new Colts head coach Frank Reich.
“I was excited to hear that actually, so it feels good to be in a different place, in Green Bay,” Morrison said Monday after participating in his first practice with the Packers. He arrived in town on Sunday night.
Morrison then noted that the game is, well, business, so he harbors no ill will to the team that drafted him and then traded him.
“No frustration at all,” he said. “I see what they were trying to build there. I had somewhat of a role, but here I may get a little more opportunity than there was being somewhere else. The 3-4, that’s fitting to what I do. I like it.”
The 6-foot, 1-inch, 241-pound linebacker out of the University of Florida was a fourth-round pick by the Colts in 2016, but that was under former general manager Ryan Grigson. Current Packers GM Brian Gutekunst scouted the southeast during that time, and felt Morrison was the “heartbeat” of his college program. Gutekunst also noted Morrison filled a need as a veteran presence at inside linebacker.
“A lot of passion, very physical,” Gutekunst said. “He loves to play ball. It'll be good to get him out there and see how he fits in."
For his part, Morrison feels he is more a fit at inside linebacker in Green Bay than he was in Indianapolis.
“That’s what I’m used to. It feels good to be back in that. We were runnin' 4-3 in Indianapolis and things weren’t working out there. So it’s good to be back in the 3-4,” Morrison said.
As for why it’s a better fit for him, Morrison said it allows him to play, “Downhill. Aggressive. You know, a lot of pluggin’, a lot of hittin’.
“It’s a lot different than 4-3. A lot more speedy linebackers you’ll see (in that). So this fits my style of play.”
Ryan Wood and Jim Owczarski talk about newly acquired inside linebacker Antonio Morrison and the return to practice of kick returner Trevor Davis. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin