GREEN BAY – Korey Toomer doesn’t know a soul in Green Bay and has never played with any of his new teammates.
But the veteran linebacker is OK with that.
“It’s all new, which is good. It’s a reset, a restart,” Toomer said after his first practice with the Packers on Monday. “I can focus in and learn.”
The Packers signed Toomer after he was released by San Francisco over the weekend to provide veteran depth on special teams and with a young inside linebacker group.
A journeyman thus far in his NFL career, Toomer is now with his eighth team since being drafted by the Seahawks back in 2012. So he’s gone through this process several times. He’d like to stop the cycle, of course, and hopes he’ll get a chance to settle in with the Packers.
If he can do what he did the past two seasons with the Chargers, it’s not out of the question. A part-time starter for San Diego/LA in 2016-17, Toomer recorded over 100 total tackles, five forced fumbles, two sacks and five passes defensed, one of which was an interception returned for a touchdown.
But the Chargers didn’t re-sign him, and he went to San Francisco in the offseason as what he termed “an insurance policy” given all the uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster’s off-field legal issues. The 49ers also spent a third-round draft pick at his position after he signed.
So his release wasn’t a shock, and he took it in stride as part of the business. But he heard just a couple of hours later from the Packers, whose inside linebacker position remains in flux.
After starter and leader Blake Martinez, rookie Oren Burks is still working through a preseason shoulder injury, undrafted rookie James Crawford also was rehabbing an undisclosed injury during Monday’s practice, and Antonio Morrison arrived via trade just a week ago.
Any chance Toomer gets, the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder wants to be ready. A special-teamer earlier in his career, he started making more of an impact on defense with the Chargers, and he’d like to prove he’s still a player on the rise.
“I feel like I put up great numbers given the playing time that I had,” Toomer said. “It’s tough not being able to find a home and find somebody that wants me and lets me play – just be myself and play my game. But the only thing I can do is keep working. I feel like Green Bay can be the spot for me. I hope it is.”
Learning defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s playbook will be his first task, not an easy one when joining a roster Week 1. His approach will be to absorb each game plan, week by week, and put it all together from there.
“It takes a while. I missed training camp here,” he said. “That’s hard to do, especially when you come into a 3-4 scheme, it’s just going to be piece by piece, day by day. I just have to grind at this point. I’m behind.”
All he wants to do now is put a hectic couple of days behind him and get to work. And maybe get to know some new teammates as well.
“Learning more about this organization as I got here, I’m happy,” he said. “This is a football town … I love this place already. The vibe I got is great.”