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Packers losing their fullback as Danny Vitale departs to join Patriots

Tom Silverstein
Packers News

GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers have one less guy in their backfield and are now on the lookout for a fullback.

Danny Vitale, the team’s fullback and a core special teams player, is headed to the New England Patriots, according to his agent, Chris Cabott.

The Packers had discussions with Cabott about Vitale, who underwent knee surgery after the season and has not been able to meet with the Patriots because of the ban on player travel the NFL has instituted due to the coronavirus.

Fullback Danny Vitale (45) runs with the ball during Green Bay Packers training camp at Ray Nitschke Field Friday, July 26, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis.

Vitale wasn’t a high priority on the Packers’ free-agent list. He only played 174 plays from scrimmage or 15.7% of the offensive snaps. He played far more on special teams with 193 snaps or 44.7% of the plays.

Coach Matt LaFleur did not use a fullback all that often in his offense, preferring to go with three receivers or two tight ends. Vitale ran the ball one time for 3 yards and had seven catches for 97 yards in the regular season.

The Packers could have taken more advantage of his receiving skills, but they saw halfback Aaron Jones develop into a major threat in the passing game and didn’t use Vitale much.

Packers free-agency tracker: Live updates, breaking news from Green Bay and around the NFL

The Packers moved practice squad defensive lineman James Looney to offense, where he worked in practice as an H-back/fullback, and they may be interested in developing him more. But more than likely they will audition some fullbacks or draft one before the start of the regular season.

Vitale is the fourth Packers unrestricted free agent to leave the team, joining linebackers Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell (Giants), tackle Bryan Bulaga (Chargers) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (Browns).