PHOENIX – The Tweet came from ESPN’s Adam Schefter as Mike McCarthy found himself surrounded by beat writers. And given the Green Bay Packers’ uncertainty at running back, Schefter’s report that the Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers were interested in free-agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw certainly made sense.
The coach, of course, just smiled and shook his head.
“I’d like to think I’m old enough along that I don’t have to answer these questions in March,” McCarthy said as the annual NFL Meetings – his eighth as the Packers coach – were set to begin. “The depth chart doesn’t always look full this time of year. But the guys we do have there, they’re all young and they can all get better. Are we going to add more people there? Yeah, there will be more competition. It’s definitely to enhance the running game.”
The Packers lost out on free-agent running back Steven Jackson, who spurned them to sign with the Atlanta Falcons, and that left them with DuJuan Harris, Alex Green and James Starks as the only holdovers currently on the roster at halfback. Veterans Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant are both unrestricted free agents.
Bradshaw, who turns 27 on Tuesday, carried 221 times for 1,015 yards (4.6-yard average) and six touchdowns last season in 14 games before being released by the New York Giants. He entered the league as a seventh-round pick from Marshall in 2007 and has 921 career regular-season carries for 4.232 yards (4.6-yard average) and 32 touchdowns. While his bruising style has caused him to miss time with injuries, he’s never played in fewer than 12 games in any of his six NFL seasons.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson acknowledged that there’s some uncertainty at the running back position but also said the team would consider bringing Benson back next year. Benson, 30, suffered what turned out to be a season-ending foot injury in Week 5 last year
“It’s like any position, we look hard at all of them and we’ve got a number of positions where the injury thing is going to factor in,” Thompson said. “We need to find out where we are there. But we feel pretty good about it.
“In general, we talk about all our free agents as if we’d like to have them back. There’s a scenario where we’d like to have (Benson) back. We need to find out about the injury thing.”
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