Packers receiver Davante Adams set to return; no word yet on David Bakhtiari
GREEN BAY - After missing the Week 8 win over the Arizona Cardinals, wide receiver Davante Adams is expected to return to the field Sunday. Adams had been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list but was activated Friday.
Adams said he experienced body chills and headaches for the first few days after testing positive for the virus, but those have stopped. The worst part, though, was having to sit at home while his team took on the last undefeated club in the NFL this season.
“I mean it sucked from a standpoint of being away from the team,” said Adams. “The worst part was not being able to be here with the squad. Travel, I haven’t not been to a game yet, so that was weird, watching on TV but definitely was excited watching my brothers go to work though. So, good to be back.”
As for this weekend against the Chiefs, “Yes, I’ll be playing Sunday,” promised Adams.
Adams returns as quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes his way onto the reserve/COVID-19 list. The passing ships in the night aren’t important, according to Adams, as long as each person who is on the field does their part.
“This has been a crazy week because yeah, I'm back but it ain't about me. And we got the stuff going on, you know, with 12 (Rodgers) not being here, but it ain't about him. It's about this whole team together. So just lock in and and do what you got to do to be mentally tapped in so you can go play your best game.”
Adams is third in the league, averaging 106.3 yards per game, and fourth with 744 total yards despite missing last week. A valuable chess piece in the offense, he’s also a comfort for a quarterback. With quarterback Jordan Love making his first career start, Adams return can give Love a needed safety blanket.
“We will make it as easy on him as possible; nobody’s hanging their head that 12 is not here because you know, just like when I wasn't here, it's a next-man-up mentality…it’s not always gonna be great. You go from, you know, best quarterback to play the game - anybody's going to be, a drop-off for lack of better words. But looking forward to seeing what (Love) does, I can definitely tell that he's tapped in and ready to play. Soit'll be fun to go out there and sling around a little bit.”
Added Packers coach Matt LaFluer of having Adams on the field for Love, “Anytime you have the best receiver in the league, that's definitely a calming influence out there in the huddle. The guy that's been through it, can do anything that you ask him to do and I think he'll be very, very supportive of not only Jordan but the other 10 guys in the huddle.”
While Adams is returning, LaFluer won’t be able to confirm the status of offensive lineman David Bakhtiari until Saturday.
“I’ll let you guys now at kickoff,” joked the coach, but did add a decision would have to be made by Saturday.
Injury report updates
As for the status of other Packers, defensive lineman Kingsley Keke (concussion) was officially ruled out on the club’s Friday injury report. Tackle Dennis Kelly (back) and defensive lineman Dean Lowry (hamstring) were both labeled questionable. Defensive lineman Jack Heflin, who didn’t participate Wednesday with illness, was a full participant Friday.
The Chiefs have ruled offensive lineman Mike Remmers (knee) out for Sunday’s game, while qualifying defensive tackle Khalen Saunders (knee) as questionable. Saunders was a full participant all week in practice.
Packers get a new look at long snapper
Steven Wirtel maintains it’s the same 100 yards. The same football field length he has played on his entire life. But this one will inevitably be different, because the long snapper will be playing in his first NFL game.
The move comes after the Packers elevated Wirtel from the practice squad to the active roster ahead of the Week 9 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“The chance to put the Packer logo on and represent them was definitely something that I took great pride in,” Wirtel said.
Wirtel was originally signed to the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent ahead of the 2020 season, but spent the entire season on the practice squad. After a quick stop with the Los Angeles Rams this offseason, Wirtel joined the Packers' practice squad on Sept. 2. After the team released long snapper Hunter Bradley this week, Wirtel was elevated.
Now, the Chicago native and Iowa State alum will be heading to Kansas City for his first start, and he’s bringing with him a load of fans. Eight family members ranging from parents, grandparents, siblings, Wirtel’s fiancee and friends will all be there to watch. It’s fitting, considering long snapping for Wirtel has always been a family affair.
His brother, John, is a free agent but spent time with the Chicago Bears in training camp after graduating from Kansas.
"For myself, it starts at home,” said the younger Wirtel. “I think just being able to kind of work with him every day allowed me to perfect my craft and allowed him to do the same. Kind of allowed me to learn that consistency."
This move is also a college familial affair for Wirtel, who is reunited with his former teammate Allen Lazard.
“He was the first guy that I sent a text to and he was so excited for me and so I was just— it really made it easy for me to show up on that first day.”
Now Wirtel will get to show up for his game. It’s been years in the making … and still the same 100 yards of grass.
“If you put your mind to it and and you're committed to it, I think the results show.”