Packers release struggling return man Jeremy Ross

The Packers released Jeremy Ross after struggling in return duties through three weeks.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The fumbled kickoff return Sunday will be the last for Jeremy Ross in a Green Bay Packers uniform. The team announced Monday afternoon that Ross has been released.

"We made a change today on the roster with Jeremy Ross," coach Mike McCarthy said at his afternoon press conference. "As always, the roster is a constant conversation between the personnel department and myself. Production, performance is always part of those decisions."

Ross fumbled a punt return near the goal line in the Packers' divisional-round loss last season at San Francisco. Despite that, Green Bay gave Ross another chance this season in an effort to get star wide receiver Randall Cobb off of special teams.

In Week 1 this season, Ross made a bad decision to take a kick return out of the end zone and was tackled within the 10-yard line, setting the Packers up with poor field position. When Ross ran up to catch a short kickoff Sunday at Cincinnati, he mishandled it and gave the Bengals the ball at the 2-yard line.

"I thought he made a delayed decision to go get the ball and then misplayed the catch," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said.

Slocum later described it as "a bad play," adding, "ball security is the No. 1 thing we do in the return game, and we've got to play better than that."

The nameplate for Ross was still hanging atop his locker Monday, but all of his belongings were packed up and gone. However, just as McCarthy said about kicker Giorgio Tavecchio when Green Bay released him Aug. 26, the Packers claim they will keep tabs on Ross in case they see a need for him in the future.

"We haven't given up on Jeremy," McCarthy said. "He's had some opportunities; he's done some good things for us. But there's some things we may have to shift as we move forward from a roster standpoint."

Ross, 25, was signed to Green Bay's practice squad Oct. 17, 2012 and called him up to the active roster Dec. 1.

In his short career with the Packers, Ross had six punt returns for 123 yards. He also had nine kick returns for 161 yards.

Green Bay has not announced a corresponding roster move to replace Ross on the 53-man roster. Unless the Packers bring in a player who's not currently on the team, their in-house options for kick and punt return include Cobb, rookie running back Johnathan Franklin and rookie cornerback Micah Hyde.

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