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Mike Holmgren among five Packers named finalists for Hall of Fame 'Centennial Slate'

Jim Owczarski
Packers News

GREEN BAY - To celebrate the NFL's 100th anniversary, the Pro Football Hall of Fame commissioned a “blue-ribbon” panel to winnow down a pool of about 300 people to induct 15 new members as part of a “Centennial Slate” for the 2020 class.

On Thursday the Hall of Fame released its finalists for induction, and the list includes one coach and four players who were members of the Green Bay Packers.

Mike Holmgren is one of eight coaches up for consideration, of which two will be enshrined. Holmgren coached the Packers from 1992-98 and compiled a 75-37 record. The Packers went to the 1995 NFC Championship game before winning Super Bowl XXXI in 1996. They lost Super Bowl XXXII the following year to Denver. Holmgren also went to a Super Bowl with Seattle.

Four Packers players made the list of 20 senior finalists, of which 10 will be inducted. To qualify, a player must have played his last game at least 25 seasons ago.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike Holmgren gives a thumbs up behind the Lombardi Trophy after the Packers beat the New England Patriots 35-21 to win Super Bowl XXXI.

The group includes safety Bobby Dillon (1952-59), end LaVern Dilweg (1926 Milwaukee Badgers, 1927-34 Packers), two-way player Cecil Isbell (1938-42) and halfback Verne Lewellen (1924-32).

The 25-member panel will vote on the special centennial finalists in early January. Hall of Fame Packers general manager Ron Wolf is part of that panel.

The quintet joins former Packers safety LeRoy Butler among those with Green Bay connections in the running for enshrinement. In November, Butler was named a modern-era semifinalist for enshrinement, along with 24 other players. It is the third time he has reached the semifinal round of consideration. Modern-era finalists will be announced Jan. 2, with inductees to selected during Super Bowl weekend Feb. 1.

Butler became the first defensive back to have at least 20 interceptions and 20 sacks. A part of two Super Bowl teams, he also created the “Lambeau Leap.”

Poorly kept secret

The Packers haven’t been hiding their intent to get the ball to receiver Davante Adams.

Since his return from a turf-toe injury in Week 9, Adams has 38 of the 69 receptions (55%) and four of the five touchdowns the receiver group has produced. His 10.8 yards per catch average is nothing to write home about, but coach Matt LaFleur is working to get him the ball.

A change that has helped Adams is the varied formations and liberal use of motion that seems to make it harder on teams to double-team him. It’s something the Packers have to get right Monday night because with Minnesota’s pass rush, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to need an open receiver as soon as possible.

Adams in a one-on-one situation is likely to produce more of those.

“Just like they keep us honest by moving around with coverages, we keep me moving around so it’s tough to double in different areas of the field,” Adams said. “So if I’m out wide or if I’m inside, just keeps them guessing.

“They don’t really know what’s going to happen if I move around a lot, so it puts us in a good position to where I can be freed up and potentially mess up their communication.”

Light only practice absence

Backup offensive tackle Alex Light was the only player not at practice Thursday as the Packers began their on-field prep for the Vikings. Light was dealing with an illness, according to the injury report.

Veterans Tramon Williams and Jimmy Graham were off to the side as individual drills began, and they were joined by linebacker Blake Martinez. Martinez fell on teammate Kyler Fackrell’s foot against Chicago and missed a handful of plays.

Martinez, Williams and Graham were among six players listed as having limited participation.

Roberts practices; Greene makes appearance

Greg Roberts practiced for the first time in 2019, starting the clock on a potential addition to the roster for the undrafted rookie out of Baylor. Roberts is a 6-foot, 5-inch, 258-pound linebacker whom the team invested not just a $7,000 signing bonus on after the draft but guaranteed him $72,000.

He suffered a severe abdominal injury, however, and began the year on the physically unable to perform list.

Now that he has practiced Roberts is technically able to be added to the 53-man roster as soon as Friday, but the team will likely use the allowed three-week practice window allowed before deciding to place him on the active roster or on injured reserve.

Roberts primarily played defensive end at Baylor, and he recorded three sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.

Roberts was one of the top athletic players coming out of draft as an “edge” defender. Though he did not participate in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, his pro day numbers would have placed him in the top 20 of edge players in the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jumps and three-cone drill and in the top 30 in the bench and 20-yard shuttle.

He ran a 4.73-second 40-yard dash, had a 10-foot broad jump and put up 225 pounds on the bench press 23 times. He also posted a 34.5-inch vertical leap, a 20-yard shuttle of 4.53 seconds and a 7.11-second three-cone drill.

Joining a group of players working off to the side of practice was safety Raven Greene, who made his first appearance with the team in a practice setting since being placed on injured reserve with a right ankle injury after the Packers’ win over Minnesota in Week 2.

The club has one more designation to return off IR to use this season after rookie tight end Jace Sternberger was recalled from that list earlier in the year.