Releasing LB Kamal Martin was ‘tough decision’ for Packers

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Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur said releasing linebacker Kamal Martin – a move reported on Monday but still not official as of Tuesday morning – was one of the “tougher” decisions the team has made in his time in Green Bay.

Martin, a fifth-round pick in 2020, is expected to be released as the Packers trim their roster to 80 players by Tuesday’s deadline.

“Kamal was a great teammate and did everything we asked him to do, but sometimes you have to make some tough decisions,” LaFleur said Tuesday.

It’s possible the Packers are still attempting to trade Martin before making the release official. LaFleur talked about the young linebacker in glowing terms on Tuesday.

“He is a big, long, physical athlete that can really run, and he’s a great kid, great person. That was one of the tougher ones that we’ve had to make in our two years here,” LaFleur said.

As a rookie, Martin was enjoying a standout summer in August before a knee injury halted his ascension to a starting spot. He missed six games and played sparingly upon his return. LaFleur said it was a “challenge for him” returning from the knee injury, which required surgery.

LaFleur also credited the linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart. Martin was no higher than No. 5 at inside linebacker, with De’Vondre Campbell, Krys Barnes, Oren Burks and Ty Summers ahead of him.

The Packers experimented with Martin at outside linebacker, but he hurt his knee again and missed the preseason opener. He returned for Saturday’s preseason game against the Jets but struggled.

The versatile Will Redmond

LaFleur complimented the versatility of Will Redmond and called the veteran defensive back one of the team’s best special teams players, but Redmond’s lack of availability during training camp remains a concern.

He started camp on the non-football injury list, and he left Saturday’s preseason game against the Jets after only nine snaps due to a toe injury.

“Will is a versatile guy,” LaFleur. “He has the ability to play in the box when we go to dime, or play as a deep safety. He has the corner background so he can get you out of a game there. His contribution on special teams, he’s been consistently our best special teamer over two years here. He’s an impact player in that phase of the game, we just gotta get him healthy.”

Redmond has 12 special teams tackles over the last two seasons. He also played 340 snaps as a backup safety on defense in 2020.

If Redmond can get healthy in time, he’ll have a chance to stick as the No. 3 safety. Vernon Scott, Henry Black, Innis Gaines and Christian Uphoff are all competing for safety spots behind Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage.

List

Packers roster cuts: Tracking the path 80 players