Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Notebook: Rodgers’ Cal teammate joins team

By Rob
One of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets at the University of California will join him with the Green Bay Packers.
Cal tight end Garrett Cross has agreed to terms on a free-agent contract with the Packers, who on Saturday drafted Cross’ college quarterback with the 24th overall pick in the draft. Last season, Cross was the Bears’ third-leading receiver with 28 catches for 339 yards and five touchdowns.
The Packers on Tuesday did not announce any of their undrafted free agents, but Cross is one of eight signings the Press-Gazette has confirmed through player agents or their colleges.
The latest additions to that list were: Temple defensive tackle A.J. Lindsay, Maine receiver Christian Pereira, Stanford cornerback Leigh Torrence, Georgia Southern quarterback/running back Chaz Williams, Alabama-Birmingham linebacker Zac Woodfin and Cross. They joined UTEP punter Bryce Benekos, Winona State receiver Chris Samp (a Green Bay Preble graduate) and Michigan linebacker Roy Williams, whose signings had been previously reported.
In Cross (6-foot-4, 248 pounds), the Packers get a pass-catching tight end who was seeking a team that runs the West coast offense. His agent, Mike Sullivan, who also represents Rodgers, said Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington tried to sign Cross.
“He’s a very skilled receiver,” Sullivan said. “The thing was he played at about 233 pounds and was so much lighter than all the other tight ends invited to the combine. Garrett knew he had to get stronger, so after the season he added about 12 to 15 pounds of good weight.”
In a roundabout way, Cross was the reason Rodgers ended up playing at Cal. The Cal coaches noticed Rodgers at Butte (Junior) College while watching film of Cross.
• Lindsay (6-2, 323) left Temple after a junior season in which he had 29 tackles and ½ sack.
• Pereira (6-2, 218) caught 58 passes for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns for Maine last season.
• Torrence (6-0, 185), a three-year starter at Stanford, had four interceptions last season.
• Williams (5-10, 215) played quarterback at Georgia Southern in an option offense and is expected to convert to a running back. He rushed for 2,768 career yards. During his pro day at Georgia Southern, he reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds and 4.42 seconds.
• Woodfin (6-0, 231) finished second on UAB’s team in tackles last season.
Rodgers’ contract: Negotiations on Rodgers’ contract could become complicated if he and Sullivan believe he should be paid like a prospect drafted near the top of the first round, which was where many projected Rodgers to go before he slipped to the Packers at No. 24.
NFL rookie contracts typically are slotted based on where the player was selected.
“Obviously, I want to have a good image and reputation on the team as being a guy who wants to be here on time,” Rodgers said. “I’ll make sure my agent, who works for me, knows that it’s imperative that I get to camp on time.”
Sullivan said he did not think that would be a problem.
“My history is that I get deals done,” Sullivan said.
Roster move: To make room for linebacker Hannibal Navies, who was re-signed over the weekend, the Packers released linebacker Steve Josue.
Josue spent the final month of the 2004 season on the Packers’ roster and played in four regular-season games plus the playoffs.

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