In their first official addition of the new league year, the Green Bay Packers Monday signed unrestricted free agent Marquand Manuel to a multi-year contract. Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson announced the signing.
Manuel, a 6-foot, 209-pound safety out of Florida, filled a major void in the Seattle secondary last season and helped the Seahawks to a berth in Super Bowl XL. Elevated to replace an injured Ken Hamlin in Week 7, Manuel started at free safety over the team's final 13 games, including playoffs. In 16 regular-season contests (11 starts), Manuel tied for third on the club with 67 tackles (54 solo), two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.
Claimed on waivers by the Seahawks on the eve of the 2004 regular season, Manuel played mostly on special teams and as an extra defensive back in his first year with Seattle.
The 26-year-old Manuel, whose name is pronounced MAR-kwahnd MAN-U-ell, originally entered the NFL as Cincinnati's sixth-round selection (181st overall) in the 2002 draft. He started nine games over his first two seasons, including eight as a rookie in 2002, before the Bengals waived him following their 2004 preseason.
Over a four-year NFL career that includes 59 games (20 starts), Manuel has 119 tackles (94 solo), five passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
A prep All-American at Miami (Fla.) Senior High School, Manuel became a three-year starter for the Florida Gators, garnering Southeastern Conference All-Academic honors. One of 18 children, he earned his degree in criminology and law before finishing his collegiate playing career as a graduate student.
In addition Monday, the Packers claimed Harry Williams on waivers from the New York Jets. Williams, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound wide receiver from Tuskegee, played in one contest during his 2005 rookie season.