Packers release running back James Starks

The offseason is underway in Green Bay.

The Packers have released veteran running back James Starks with a non-football injury designation, the team announced Tuesday.

In seven years with the Pack, Starks led the team in rushing just once (2011), playing second fiddle to Eddie Lacy and more recently Ty Montgomery. Starks missed nine games, including the postseason, in 2016, due to separate knee and head injuries and finished with 279 yards from scrimmage, his lowest total since his rookie season.

After Lacy went down midseason, Montgomery, a converted wide receiver, saw most of the carries, and by the time Starks returned from injury, Montgomery had established his status at the position for that season and the future, earning support on the coaching staff and in the locker room.

After Green Bay's season-ending loss in the NFC Championship Game, coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Montgomery would complete his transition to running back in the offseason and praised his ability to flex out and play receiver as well. Starting tackle David Bakhtiari went as far to say that, even with Lacy healthy, Montgomery could still be a bell cow.

All this to say that there was no room in the 2017 Packers backfield for an aging, fragile back like Starks, especially if Green Bay signed Lacy out of free agency in the offseason. But that doesn't mean Starks can't find employment elsewhere for a lower rate.

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