Packers release 2012 fourth-round pick Jerron McMillian; sign RB Kahlil Bell

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Four months ago, Jerron McMillian was competing for a starting safety job with the Green Bay Packers during training camp. Now, he’s out of a job entirely.

The Packers released McMillian on Tuesday, less than two years after Green Bay drafted him in the fourth round.

“As far as his individual performance, it just wasn’t quite what it needed to be this year,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “You never want to give up on a young guy. He’s a true professional, and I obviously wish him well.”

McMillian started the first two games this season while Morgan Burnett was out with a hamstring injury, but the results weren’t pretty. While playing all 81 snaps in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, McMillian missed four tackles and was rated by as the team’s worst defensive player by a significant margin.

By midseason, McMillian was almost out of the Packers’ defensive rotation entirely. He played only seven total snaps in the past seven games combined.

Green Bay has already parted ways with four of the eight players from its 2012 draft class: McMillian, inside linebacker Terrell Manning (fifth round), offensive tackle Andrew Datko (seventh round) and quarterback B.J. Coleman (seventh round). For a team that is constructed mostly with a draft-and-develop strategy, that’s too high of a swing-and-miss rate for general manager Ted Thompson and his front-office staff.

McMillian was released to make room on the active roster for running back Kahlil Bell, who was signed Monday after a workout.

“Hopefully he can add on the special teams and be a backup in the running group,” McCarthy said.

The Packers needed an additional running back after placing 2013 fourth-round pick Johnathan Franklin on injured reserve with a concussion on Nov. 27. Bell joins a running back group with starter Eddie Lacy, backup James Starks and fullback John Kuhn.

Bell, a 26-year-old who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2009, has 633 career rushing yards. He started three games for the Chicago Bears in 2011, but he fumbled three times late that season, including twice in a Christmas Day game at Lambeau Field.

Bell has brief experience in kick return, a spot where Green Bay was just starting to use Franklin when he suffered his concussion.

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