Packers: Seahawks running back Christine Michael claimed off waivers
GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers have a new running back. Again.
Only this time, they’ve added someone who’s actually been productive this season: Ex-Seattle Seahawks halfback Christine Michael, whom the Packers claimed off waivers Wednesday in their ongoing efforts to jump-start their running game.
Michael, a second- round pick in 2013, was taken by the Seahawks one choice after the Packers’ Eddie Lacy, who is on injured reserve following ankle surgery last month. Despite not playing in the past four games, Lacy remains the Packers’ leading rusher with 71 carries for 360 yards (5.1-yard average). He’s eligible to be activated from IR for the Dec. 18 game at Chicago, although there’s no guarantee Lacy will return this season.
In nine games before being cut by the Seahawks Tuesday, Michael had rushed for 469 yards on 117 carries (a 4.0-yard average) with six touchdowns — six more rushing TDs than the Packers have from running backs this season, as only quarterback Aaron Rodgers (three) has reached the end zone on runs this year. Michael also has 20 receptions for 96 yards this season.
It’s unclear how much Michael, who was expected to arrive in Green Bay late Wednesday, will be able to contribute in Sunday night’s game at Washington. But the Packers do want to have some semblance of a running game going forward.
“At times that can be challenging, but we make no excuses,” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “What you try to prevent is being one-dimensional, and that’s from a balance standpoint.”
To make room for Michael, the Packers placed rookie halfback Don Jackson on injured reserve. Jackson was called up from the practice squad before the Oct. 20 game against the Bears and carried 10 times for 32 yards in three games before being inactive for Sunday’s 47-25 loss at Tennessee. In that game, the Packers went with veteran James Starks, who carried seven times for 33 yards in his first game following Oct. 16 knee surgery for a torn meniscus.
The Packers have also used wide receiver Ty Montgomery at running back, but he’s had his snaps limited the past two weeks due to illness. Last month, the Packers traded for Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis, who lasted two games before being cut and is back on the Chiefs’ roster.
The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Michael, 26, spent his first two NFL seasons in Seattle, playing behind Marshawn Lynch, before being traded to the Dallas Cowboys before last season. The Cowboys released Michael on Nov. 17, 2015, and after a brief stint on the Redskins’ practice squad, he returned to the Seahawks in late December.
When asked recently about criticism of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Packers coach Mike McCarthy used the word “ridiculous.”
Rodgers returned the favor Wednesday, defending his coach using the same word when asked about criticism McCarthy has received lately.
“I think it’s ridiculous. I think people don’t understand how difficult it is to win in this league and win consistently,” Rodgers said. “The success that we’ve had here, it’s tough to do. We’ve set the standard pretty high. But I wouldn’t listen to some of those people out there. I mean they’re not in this locker room, they’re not in the meeting rooms, they’re not in the practice environments. They don’t know what’s going on, they don’t know the type of work ethic that we have here and that Mike has here.
“Don’t waste your time reading crap like that.”
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, practiced on a limited basis and could return Sunday. … Tight end Jared Cook, out since Sept. 25 with a high ankle sprain, also took part in practice on a limited basis but did more work than he did last week, an encouraging sign for his possible return. … Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who suffered a right knee injury against Tennessee and was unable to finish, practiced on a limited basis with a brace on his knee, giving hope that he might play. … Montgomery did not practice because of an illness, although it was not related to sickle-cell trait, the symptoms of which kept him out against game at Atlanta on Oct. 30. … Two starters injured at Tennessee — right guard T.J. Lang (foot) and inside linebacker Jake Ryan (ankle) — did not practice.