GREEN BAY, Wis. — It wasn’t quite a Lambeau Leap, but Packers wide receiver Tori Gurley did the next best thing during Day 4 of Packers training camp.
Practicing across the street from Lambeau Field at the team’s outdoor facility, Ray Nitschke Field, Gurley got up-close and personal with a few of the approximately 2,000 fans in attendance.
Gurley, Green Bay’s tallest receiver at 6-foot-4, was matched up one-on-one on the outside against rookie cornerback Casey Hayward. With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the NFL MVP lobbed a fade pass to Gurley from 20 yards out into the end zone and Gurley went up and caught it for a touchdown.
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Rodgers gave a little fist pump, but Gurley was in the mood for more of a celebration. After waving his arms to the crowd to get them on their feet, Gurley did a small leap near the front row over the 3-foot high wall.
“I’m just having fun,” Gurley said. “I see how (Donald) Driver gets the crowd going. I was like, you know what, I can do the same myself. It’s just more motivation. Every time I catch a ball I kind of wink at somebody and just enjoy myself.
“I’m blessed to be here. A lot of guys wish they could be in my shoes. I’m going to take advantage of it.”
As an undrafted rookie, Gurley spent last season on the Packers practice squad. The former University of South Carolina wideout had an opportunity to leave Green Bay and join the Minnesota Vikings’ active roster late in the year, but declined the offer.
The Packers kept five wide receivers on the active roster last season, and with Driver returning on a restructured contract, that entire group is back for 2012. Pending a trade or an injury, the only other way for Gurley to make the team this year is if coach Mike McCarthy chooses to keep six or seven receivers.
But if Gurley is able to make the 53-man roster, he’s already planning to upgrade from the miniature version of what he pulled off during Monday’s practice.
“I look forward to Lambeau Leaping pretty soon,” Gurley said.
Thompson explains Driver’s return: Packers general manager Ted Thompson almost always chooses youth over a proven veteran. One look at the team’s 90-man training camp roster shows only four players over the age of 29. That’s just been the Thompson way.
So when Thompson decided to retain Driver following his victory on “Dancing with the Stars,” it seemed to contradict nearly every decision that had come before it.
On Monday, Thompson explained his decision to bring back the 37-year-old wide receiver.
“Donald is an unusual athlete, remarkable in some ways,” Thompson said. “I think his age doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.”
Injury update: Wide receiver Greg Jennings missed his second consecutive practice with an elbow bruise. McCarthy thought Jennings would be healthy enough to return Monday, but that did not happen. McCarthy described the injury as “day-to-day.”
Tight end Jermichael Finley returned to the field following a concussion he suffered four days earlier. However, Finley was in sweat pants and not doing any contact drills. McCarthy expects Finley to be able to practice in pads Tuesday.
Undrafted rookie tight end Eric Lair was injured during 11-on-11 drills, falling to the field holding his right knee. McCarthy did not know the extent of the injury immediately after practice.
Offensive tackle Mike McCabe, also an undrafted rookie, had to be carted off the field Saturday, but the news Monday was relatively optimistic about his recovery.
“It’s not as bad as we thought it was,” McCarthy said of McCabe. “But I think it’s probably going to take a good three to five days for them to get their hands around it. So we don’t have an exact timeframe.”
The rest of the injury report remained the same, with linebacker Desmond Bishop (calf), fullback John Kuhn (knee), offensive tackle Derek Sherrod (leg) and tight end Andrew Quarless (knee) all missing practice.
Roster Move: With one roster spot open, the Packers signed tight end DeMarco Cosby. An undrafted player in 2011 out of the University of Central Missouri, Cosby — at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds — spent late last season on the St. Louis Rams practice squad.