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Packers sign eight practice-squadders to contracts

Jan 14, 2013 -- 5:46pm
Photo/US Presswire
Offensive lineman Andrew Datko is one of eight players signed by the Packers Monday.

GREEN BAY – The draft-and-develop philosophy of the Green Bay Packers all but requires them to sign their eight practice-squad guys to contracts at season’s end, and that’s exactly what the team did Monday.

The club announced that it had signed tight end Brandon Bostick, quarterback B.J. Coleman, offensive tackle Andrew Datko, center Garth Gerhart, guard Joe Gibbs, linebacker Micah Johnson, cornerback James Nixon and safety Chaz Powell. General manager Ted Thompson made the announcement in a press release.

All eight players finished the 2012 season on the Packers’ practice squad.

Bostick signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent on May 30, after taking part in the team’s post-draft rookie orientation camp on a tryout basis. A wide receiver at tiny at Newberry (S.C.) College, Bostick went to camp with the Packers and spent the entire season on the practice squad.

Coleman, from Tennessee-Chattanooga, was one of two seventh-round picks the Packers made in the 2012 NFL Draft last April and spent the entire season on the practice squad after his release at the end of training camp.

Datko was the team’s other seventh-round pick, from Florida State, and also spent the entire year on the practice squad after undrafted free agent Don Barclay made the team coming out of training camp and undrafted free agent Greg Van Roten was promoted from the practice squad at midseason.

Gerhart was added to the practice squad last Tuesday, just in time for the team’s season-ending NFC Divisional Playoff loss to San Francisco. Gerhart entered the league as an undrafted rookie out of Arizona State with the Cleveland Browns and spent the entire 2012 season on the Browns’ practice squad.

Gibbs, a first-year player out of Tennessee-Martin, entered the NFL with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent in June 2010. He also played with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League before signing with the Packers’ practice squad on Nov. 19.

Johnson, a first-year player from Kentucky, entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants in May 2010. He appeared in one game for the Miami Dolphins in 2010 and had spent time on the practice squads of Miami, Kansas City and Cincinnati. Johnson was signed to the practice squad on Dec. 31

Nixon, a rookie from California (Pa.), spent most of the preseason with the Arizona Cardinals after signing with them as an undrafted free agent on May 11. He spent his first three college seasons at Temple, where he played offense, defense and returned kicks. He was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 20.

Powell, a rookie from Penn State, signed as an undrafted free agent with Oakland in May and was with the Raiders during the preseason before being released on Aug. 27. Powell played both cornerback and wide receiver and returned kickoffs at Penn State, where he set school career records for kickoff returns (73) and kickoff return yards (1,886). He joined the Packers’ practice squad on Dec. 5, 2012.

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