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Down to 75

by Mark Daniels

The first cut isn't the deepest, but it may have been the easiest for Packers General Manager Ted Thompson. To reach the NFL roster limit of 75 players this afternoon, Thompson made six moves, all wounded players dispatched to the season ending injured reserve list.

The group includes starting nose tackle B.J. Raji, who tore a biceps muscle against the Oakland Raiders last Friday night. He's scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the tear in the coming days. The six year veteran re-signed with the Packers in the off-season, a one year deal worth a reported four million dollars. He was hoping to parlay a big season back at his original nose tackle position into a long term contract. That's all on hold now.

Don Barclay had his surgery last week, to repair the torn ACL that occurred on the practice field two weeks ago. He was the top backup at virtually every offensive line position.

Arguably the most popular of the Packer draft choices, Wisconsin's own wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, the fifth round pick, is done for the year with an ACL tear.

The last three to be placed on injured reserve include two promising undrafted rookie free agents. Linebacker Joe Thomas of South Carolina State and running back Rajion Neal out of Tennessee . Guard Andrew Tiller is a second year player out of Syracuse.

The Packers conduct their final public practice of training camp Thursday at 10:30 at Ray Nitschke Field. It's a brisk and brief walk through of game situations and fundamental drills. The players will then gather in the Lambeau Field Atrium for the annual Welcome Back Packers luncheon put on by the Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs come to town for the annual Bishop's Charities Game, kicking off at 6:00 PM.

By Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM, the final roster of 53 players will be set with a 10 man practice squad assembled by Sunday.