Why Montee Ball Could End Up a Member of the Green Bay Packers

After first making the Denver Broncos 53-man roster this past Saturday, running back Montee Ball was placed on waivers on Sunday.

No team in the NFL claimed him on waivers, so the former Wisconsin Badger is now a free agent.

One possible landing spot is the Green Bay Packers.

Why is that? There are a number of reasons.

For one thing, backup running back James Starks will be an unrestricted free agent in 2016.

Also, the Packers searched long and hard to find a third running back this summer in training camp. It was a very spirited battle between Rajion Neal, John Crockett and Alonzo Harris.

All of those backs flashed some real talent this summer, but in the end the Packers decided to go with Harris as the third back. Crockett was put on the practice squad, while Neal ended up signing with the Miami Dolphins and was put on their practice squad.

Ted Thompson and the Packers have always been enamored with Ball. As Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote earlier this summer, the Packers had narrowed it down to Ball and running back Eddie Lacy in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.

The Packers had the 55th selection of the draft in the second round and when they saw that both Ball and Lacy were still on the board, they traded back six spots figuring that one of the two backs would be there at pick No. 61.

The Packers were right, as Lacy was still on the board. Ball was selected by the Broncos with pick No. 58.

Thompson went to the Wisconsin pro day and actually talked with Ball after his workout.

“He [Thompson] just talked to me about all the good stuff that I’ve been doing on tape,” Ball said. “He said, ‘You know how to play football. You’ve been doing the right things.’ And he’s very excited about it.”

Ball did have brilliant track record for Thompson to be impressed with. As a Badger, Ball rushed for 5,040 yards, plus had 58 receptions for 591 more yards.

He also has the FBS all-time touchdown record with 82 touchdowns. Seventy-six of those touchdowns were by rushing, which also is an all-time FBS record.

As a pro, Ball didn’t have the same impact with the Broncos. Injuries were part of the problem, especially a nagging groin injury in 2014.

In two years with the Broncos, Ball rushed for 731 yards and five touchdowns, while he also caught 29 passes for 207 more yards.

The other problem Ball had in Denver was his competition at running back. When Ball went out with his injury woes, the Broncos found that they had two very talented backups in C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.

Anderson is now the clear No. 1 back in Denver, while Hillman had an excellent preseason and is entrenched at the No. 2 spot.

The bottom line is that Ball is not yet even 25 years old. The Packers were once pretty smitten with the former Badger, and I would not be surprised if the Packers at least give him a tryout.

The Packers like to keep these type of things under the radar, which is exactly what they did when they signed Julius Peppers back in the spring of 2014.

I surmised that the Packers might be interested in Peppers, when I wrote this piece for Bleacher Report.

The Packers kept a low profile and ended up signing Peppers later the same week I wrote my story.

I’m not saying the same thing will happen with Ball, but based on recent history, we know the Packers liked No. 28 coming out of Wisconsin.

Things have been pretty quiet for Ball since his release on Sunday. That’s just the way the Packers like to do business.

Under the radar.

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