The Green Bay Packers have signed running back Michael Hill from the practice squad to the 53-man roster — the team announced the move earlier this afternoon.
The move comes to no surprise for those who follow team.
The injury bug has bitten the Packers’ running back position early this season. First it was rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who suffered a concussion in week two against the Washington Redskins, he then missed the next game at Cincinnati. Fullback and jack of all trades, John Kuhn, also missed the Cincinnati game with a hamstring injury and a timetable for his return has yet to be set.
James Starks was also injured in Cincinnati, suffering a knee injury in the second quarter on a run near the goal line. Rookie Johnathan Franklin came in for Starks and played extraordinarily well before he too was injured. At one point in the Cincinnati game, the Packers were down to zero healthy running backs and were forced to line up Randall Cobb and Jeremy Ross in the backfield for a few plays before Franklin was able to return.
If the Packers were to play in week four, Starks and Kuhn would’ve missed the game and Lacy would’ve played, but maybe not at 100 percent.
The team usually waits until Wednesdays to comment on any injuries so we will get a better idea of the health at running back later this week. The signing of Hill to the 53-man roster makes you wonder if Starks and Kuhn are still question marks to play Sunday when the Detroit Lions come to Lambeau Field.
Lacy and Franklin should be able to go as it’s been two weeks for Lacy to heal from the concussion and Franklin was able to return to the Bengals game after his apparent injury. That would leave a stable of three rookies: Franklin, Lacy and Hill.
Hill is a 5-foot-10, 210-pound rookie out of Missouri Western (Division II), where he was the primary starter at running back in 2011 and 2012. His best collegiate season came last season when he rushed for 2,168 yards on 311 carries (7.0 YPC) and scored 16 touchdowns in 14 starts, which led all Division II running backs. He finished his career with just under 3,500 yards rushing, 24 touchdowns and a staggering 6.0 yard per carry average. Hill also caught 52 passes for 477 yards and seven touchdowns in his colligate career.
Hill wasn’t drafted in April’s draft and signed a non-drafted free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers in the summer. He appeared in all four preseason games for the Chargers accumulating 21 carries for 60 yards (2.9 YPC) and two catches for 15 yards. He was cut by the Chargers Aug. 28 and signed to the Packers practice squad on Sept. 2.
Hill will wear No. 34 for the Packers.