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Waiting game, future uncertainty 'very difficult' for Packers on roster bubble

Decisions coming by 3 p.m. CT Tuesday

Team huddle
Team huddle

GREEN BAY – All that's left now is to wait.

That's about the only thing a few dozen players on the Packers' roster bubble can do as Tuesday's 3 p.m. CT deadline for cuts approaches.

All NFL teams must be down to the league-mandated 53-player limit by that time and then, after a waiver period that carries into Wednesday morning, players can start being re-signed to practice squads.

It's an anxious and uncomfortable time for all involved, but even as Head Coach Matt LaFleur acknowledged how "emotional" it can be, it's also "the nature of the beast."

"It's very difficult, because everybody wants to be here," undrafted rookie running back Tyler Goodson said after Monday's practice, the last before the roster decisions. "Everybody wants a chance just to be in the locker room with the guys, be on the field, and just wanting to play in general.

"It's definitely difficult just to think about maybe you could be here, maybe not. You just gotta hope for the best, let the tape talk for itself and let your play talk for itself."

Goodson feels he did that, as the Iowa alum led the Packers over three preseason games with 29 carries for 107 yards, including a nifty 24-yard TD run last Thursday in Kansas City.

He's been in a tight battle all through training camp with last year's No. 3 running back, Patrick Taylor, for that backup spot behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. However it shakes out, Goodson has no regrets with the effort he put forth.

"I gave it my all each and every play, 100%," he said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to secure a spot, and that's really all I could give, especially knowing the one and two spots at running back are going to be filled."

Seventh-round draft pick Samori Toure took the same approach at receiver, and no matter what happens, he made a positive impression. Toure, who's gone from FCS Montana to the Big Ten's Nebraska to the NFL's Packers over the past two years, led Green Bay's crowded receiving competition with nine catches for 125 yards in the preseason.

"I just wanted to be the best player I can be, play with good effort, good intensity," he said. "I feel like I've done that and I've improved with every week and every practice. I feel like I can look myself in the mirror and say I did everything. That's really the most important part.

"I think I showed them that I'm a talented receiver and I showed that I can play in this league and I'll be someone who's willing to contribute in any way that I can."

Passing the time Tuesday until getting word one way or another can be its own awkward challenge. Goodson mentioned he'll probably talk with family, maybe play video games. Toure also brought up video games, or movies in his hotel room.

Chris Slayton, a defensive lineman who was a seventh-round rookie back in 2019 with the Giants, has been through this multiple times now. He's spent time on five different practice squads over the past three years and is still fighting to find a home in the NFL.

Claimed off waivers by the Packers this spring, Slayton was a workhorse this past month, playing 131 snaps on the interior of the defensive line over the three preseason games, and holding up well. He's at a position group very tough to crack with the Packers, a familiar situation with him.

"I'll try not to think about it until the time happens," Slayton said. "So we'll see.

"I try not to stress myself out about it. Just wait and see what happens."

Slayton is Exhibit A to never giving up, regardless of what word comes down Tuesday afternoon. Others have found the success they've sought, if not right away, and their stories are known throughout the locker room.

"There's guys like that all across the league," Toure said. "Even on this team, Rasul's (Douglas) been cut before, (Allen) Lazard, Bobby's (Tonyan) been cut. It's definitely not what I want but, if it happens, I'm not going to be super beat up about it. I'm going to look at it like, 'All right, this is part of my story.'"

That perspective doesn't fully alleviate a restless night, though.

"I'll be laying in my bed thinking about it for sure," Goodson said Monday. "At the end of the day, all I can do is just pray, hope for the best. If I do stay, I'll give it all I got. If I don't, there's more opportunities ahead."

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