Packers sign veteran edge rusher Nate Orchard to practice squad

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In desperate need of help at edge rusher, the Green Bay Packers dipped into the pool of available outside linebackers and signed veteran Nate Orchard to the practice squad on Thursday.

Orchard, a second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2015, has played in 46 career games, producing 85 tackles, six sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits an interception, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The Packers are dealing with a crisis at outside linebacker. Za’Darius Smith, Whitney Mercilus, Chauncey Rivers and Randy Ramsey are all on injured reserve, and Jonathan Garvin was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday. Rashan Gary is still dealing with an elbow injury and has an uncertain playing status for Sunday.

The Packers have only Tipa Galeai as a healthy option behind starter Preston Smith on the 53-man roster. La’Darius Hamilton and now Orchard are available on the practice squad, and both could be elevated to the gameday roster on Sunday.

Oren Burks can also chip in and play snaps on the edge.

The Packers released running back Kerrith Whyte from the practice squad to make room for Orchard.

Between the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Orchard played eight games with the Washington Football Team. He has not been on the field in a regular season game during the 2021 season.

Orchard will wear No. 43 for the Packers.

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