Packers sign Tavon Austin, release Darrius Shepherd

The Green Bay Packers signed veteran wide receiver Tavon Austin to a contract Tuesday. To make room on the roster, the Packers released wide receiver Darrius Shepherd.

Entering the NFL draft in 2013, Austin turned heads by running a 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds at the combine. He was selected eighth overall by the St. Louis Rams. In seven NFL seasons, Austin has collected 215 receptions for 2,006 yards and 15 touchdowns, as well as 1,340 rushing yards and 10 scores on 196 attempts.

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Austin opened the 2020 season with the San Francisco 49ers, but he was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury during training camp. He was released by the 49ers after reaching an injury settlement.

Austin logged 224 total yards and two scores on 19 touches for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019.

Shepherd appeared in eight games for Green Bay this season and was on the field for 139 total offensive snaps. He tallied one reception for six yards. Shepherd made his biggest impact in the return game, taking 11 kickoffs back for 227 yards (20.6 average).

Austin is a candidate to take over the return duties. He’s logged 7.9 yards per punt return on 185 career attempts and has found the end zone on a punt three times, most recently in 2015. Austin also has experience returning kickoffs, but he hasn’t done so since 2017.

Green Bay (8-3) returns to the field 3:25 p.m. Sunday to battle the Philadelphia Eagles (3-7-1).