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The Green Bay Packers have signed QB Joe Callahan to the active roster from the practice squad and released LB Carl Bradford. The transactions were announced Saturday by Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson.
Callahan, a 6-foot-1, 216-pound rookie, was originally signed by Green Bay as an undrafted rookie out of Wesley College on May 6. After being released by the Packers on Oct. 13, he was claimed off waivers by the New Orleans Saints. Callahan was released by the Saints on Oct. 22 and claimed by the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 24, but was released on Nov. 29. He was signed to Green Bay’s practice squad on Dec. 2. In 2015, he became the first NCAA Division III quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, earning the Gagliardi Trophy, the highest award in Division III football.
On Sunday, that moment finally arrived at the Georgia Dome courtesy of rookie receiver Trevor Davis and the other 10 players on the Packers’ punt-return team.
Davis, a fifth-round pick out of California, broke free for a 55-yard return with 5 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first half to set up his own 9-yard touchdown catch three plays later.
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“Anytime you can get a weapon in the fifth round, I think you have to do that.”
The Packers selected Davis (6-1, 188) with the 163rd overall pick. He spent the last two years catching passes from QB Jared Goff, who was drafted first overall by the Rams on Thursday night.
Davis had 64 receptions for 1,071 yards and seven TDs over the last two seasons after transferring from Hawaii. Wolf said it can make it easier to evaluate a receiver when he’s working with a bona fide pro prospect at QB.
Playing at Washington State in a game rapidly evolving into a shootout, Davis cranked up the contest’s pace even more in the third quarter. Just two minutes and 59 seconds apart, he brought back a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns.
The returns covered 100 and 98 yards, respectively. The speedy receiver became a blur, times two, pulling off in the length of a boxing round a single-game feat most returners never experience in their entire careers.
The rookie fifth-round draft pick from Cal caught just three passes for 24 yards, but that included a 9-yard TD on a diving catch right at the pylon for his first NFL score. That was just four plays after Davis himself put the Packers in position with a 55-yard punt return, Green Bay’s longest of the season.
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The Packers are pretty banged up at the receiver position at the moment. Only two of the six on the active roster, Randall Cobb and Trevor Davis jersey, were full participants during Wednesday’s practice in the Hutson Center.
Davis was a prodigious kickoff returner at Cal. His 24.7 yards per return rank fifth in school history, including a pair for touchdowns against Washington State during the 2014 season.
Still, he only touched the ball on punt returns 14 times in two seasons with his longest going for 24 yards. He’s already surpassed that mark twice on his first six NFL returns.
“There’s natural returners and Trevor is working towards that,” Zook said. “I think he has a chance to be a pretty good returner, but the other guys have to do their job also. It takes everybody doing their job.”
Davis’ effort on Sunday catapulted the Packers to third in the NFL with 13.9 yards per punt return on seven attempts. Now, Zook says it’s up to the special-teams unit to build on that success and create more opportunities in the second half of the season.