Grant Returns to Bolster Backfield

RB Ryan Grant (Dennis Wierzbicki/USP)

Ryan Grant, with 4,000 career rushing yards and his 30th birthday on Sunday, was added to the Packers' backfield with James Starks injuring a knee against Minnesota. However, the team did not put Starks on injured reserve.

With James Starks injured on a helmet-to-knee hit late in last week's game against Minnesota, the Green Bay Packers have brought back veteran running back Ryan Grant, an NFL source confirmed on Wednesday morning.

ESPNMilwaukee.com's Jason Wilde broke the news via a text message from Grant. The Packers made it official late Wednesday morning. Notably, they put running back Johnny White (concussion) on injured reserve rather than Starks.

As a free agent this past offseason, Grant was not offered a contract by the Packers, who elected instead to sign veteran Cedric Benson to add to the returning duo of Starks and Alex Green. Grant played in one game for Washington, carrying one time for 5 yards against Atlanta in Week 5. He worked out recently for his original team, the Giants, but did not sign.

In 63 games over five seasons with the Packers, Grant rushed for 4,016 yards, averaged 4.3 yards per carry and scored 25 touchdowns. Last season, he rushed 134 times for 559 yards and two scores. The Packers would love that 4.2-yard average – Starks averaged 3.6, Benson 3.5 and Green 3.3 this season.

Starks carried 15 times for 66 yards, including the go-ahead 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter, against Minnesota. He was injured on the final first-down play of the 11-minute, clinching drive against the Vikings when tackled by Josh Robinson, though he returned to get three consecutive 3-yard runs when the Packers took possession again after the two-minute warning.

"I liked the combination of the running backs today and, more important, I liked what James Starks did," coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. "I thought he stepped up, I thought Alex ran well, I thought John Kuhn played tough like he always does. I thought James was a little cut above today and that's why I went with him in the fourth quarter. I like what I see from our backs."

On Monday, McCarthy said the team was sorting through some injuries but didn't think any of them were serious. Since being a sixth-round pick in 2010, Starks has played in 22 of a possible 44 regular-season games due to a litany of injuries, including turf toe, which held him out of the first five games of this season.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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