Packers place Jake Kumerow on injured reserve, add RB Darius Jackson, LB Korey Toomer
GREEN BAY — Jake Kumerow isn’t where he wanted to be with the Green Bay Packers. But he also knows he could be in worse places.
The former UW-Whitewater star was transferred from the 53-man roster to injured reserve Monday, a procedural move that gives him the opportunity to return this season.
“I’m happy. Happy. Happy still to be in the locker room, happy to be here,” Kumerow said as his teammates prepped for Sunday night’s regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. “I’m not so much sad, I’m just a little bummed out that it’s going to be a little longer to get back into the action than I thought it’d be.
“Preseason was what it was — I played solid for the first half, I got hurt. So I can’t sit here and be completely bummed out. I’ve got to look at some good, some bad. It’s not the spot I want to be in yet but it’s better than the spots I’ve been in. So you’ve got to feel happy about it.
“Nothing new for me. I’ve been in situations before where I had to fight and crawl my way back up. It’s just another bump in the road..”
Kumerow, sidelined since he injured his shoulder at the end of an 82-yard touchdown catch-and-run against Pittsburgh on Aug. 16, had to be on the 53-man roster Sunday so he could be eligible to return from IR later in the year. NFL rules allow each team to bring back two players from IR, but they must stay on IR for eight weeks.
Kumerow, if chosen by the team to return, can start practicing again after six weeks. He said Monday he is close to being cleared to lift again and believes he’ll be full-go by then.
Kumerow, who spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons on Cincinnati’s practice squad and bounced around to New England and Green Bay’s practice squads last year, has yet to play in an NFL regular-season game. Since the Packers can only bring two players back from IR, his opportunity is contingent on how healthy the Packers stay elsewhere on the roster.
“They didn’t give me any (promise) about being brought back,” said Kumerow, who finished the preseason with six receptions for 190 yards and two touchdowns in only two games. “What they did say was, ‘We like what you’ve done so far. We want to give you a chance to be back on this team. We think you earned a spot. So get back as fast as possible and hope for the best.’ So I’m just going to take it day by day and work my way back.”
Running back added
Kumerow’s move to IR was one of four general manager Brian Gutekunst made Monday. He also added running back Darius Jackson off the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad, signed linebacker Korey Toomer and waived cornerback Herb Waters.
Before adding Jackson, a 2016 sixth-round pick from Eastern Michigan who has spent time with the Cowboys and Cleveland Browns but has never played in a regular-season game, the Packers had only two running backs on their 53-man roster — second-year back Jamaal Williams, who is set to be the starter, and converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery — because of Aaron Jones’ two-game NFL substance-abuse suspension.
“I think those guys are ready to go,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said of Williams and Montgomery. “They’re healthy, they give us an excellent 1-2 punch. So, I’m not concerned about that at all.”
It’s unlikely that Jackson, who didn’t arrive in time for Monday’s practice, will be able to help the offense against the Bears, as McCarthy suggested he’s more likely to contribute on special teams.
The Packers had four other halfbacks and two fullbacks on the roster during camp but parted ways with all of them on the final roster cutdown. Halfback Joel Bouagnon and fullback Joe Kerridge were re-signed to the practice squad Sunday.
It’s unclear what the Packers will have at inside linebacker against the Bears beyond veteran Blake Martinez, who tied for the NFL lead in tackles last season.
Rookie third-round pick Oren Burks, who sustained a shoulder injury during pregame warmups in Oakland on Aug. 24, was with the rehabilitation group at practice and may not be ready. That means either Antonio Morrison, acquired in a trade with Indianapolis last week, or Toomer could start if Burks isn’t cleared.
Toomer, in his fifth season out of Idaho, has played 46 games (16 starts) and was in camp with the San Francisco 49ers before being cut Saturday.
“I feel like I’m a starter. If I didn’t feel that way, I shouldn’t be here,” Toomer said. “I feel like I’m going to come in, learn the defense and contribute on defense and special teams. I just need to understand (the scheme), grab the concepts. It’s a different language for me. That’s all it is: Learn the language and I’m good to go.”
The Packers rounded out their practice squad by bringing back safety Marwin Evans and adding cornerback Tony Brown. Evans, who saw action in all 32 regular-season games the past two seasons, was cut on the final roster reduction Saturday. Brown, an undrafted rookie from Alabama, was in camp with the Los Angeles Chargers. … Rookie linebacker James Crawford, who earned a roster spot despite joining the team on the eve of the preseason opener, was with Burks in the rehab group during practice, as was second-year safety Josh Jones. Neither of their injuries was disclosed.