Just two days after releasing kick and punt returner Jeremy Ross, the Green Bay Packers have gone out into the free agency world in search of a replacement.
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, the Packers didn’t go very far to find a possible replacement. Try just across the street from Lambeau Field.
The report indicates that the Packers tried out current Indoor Football League wide receiver/kick returner B.J. Hill of the Green Bay Blizzard. Hill has played for the Blizzard the past four seasons and is one of the better return men in the indoor game.
At 5-foot-9, 181 pounds Hill has had an outstanding career as a kick returner in the indoor league. In fact, Hill holds the IFL record for yards gained (3,412) and touchdowns (13) on just 166 attempts.
While the NFL is a completely different animal than the IFL, Hill’s numbers are impressive, especially considering the condensed field that IFL players play on.
Hill may also provide some depth for emergency situations at the running back position, a position he played during his standout days at the University of Ball State. Considering the Packers were forced to line up Ross at running back late in the game in Sunday’s 34-30 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals, Hill could provide the Packers with an actual emergency running back.
The Packers also brought in former University of Georgia Tech running back Orwin Smith to Green Bay for a tryout today.
Smith was a very solid player for the Yellow Jackets from 2009-2012 where he was a jack of all trades. In 2011 and 2012 he was the featured running back for Georgia Tech and also the return man for the majority of his career. Smith had a solid return career averaging over 21 yards per return.
Smith’s best collegiate game came back in September of 2011 when he accounted for 314 all-purpose yards in a game against the Kansas Jayhawks, which resulted in a 66-24 victory.
The Packers are clearly not waiting for a player on the current roster to secure the job and are looking to replace the open roster spot left by the departure of Ross.
Will we see Randall Cobb return to his old duties? Perhaps rookie defensive back Micah Hyde will return punts and fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin will return kicks? The answer is still up in the air at this time, however, it appears the Packers’ return man come week 5, isn’t on the current roster.