GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -Green Bay released Robert Ferguson on Friday, a day after coach Mike McCarthy said the receiver's career with the Packers was over.
The Packers drafted Ferguson in the second round in 2001. He played in 60 games for Green Bay, catching 116 passes for 1,577 yards and 12 touchdowns.
``We thank Robert for everything he has given to the Packers,'' general manager Ted Thompson said. ``In addition to his contributions on the playing field, Robert has been a positive influence in our locker room and a good teammate.''
The team made the move early to give Ferguson the best chance to sign with another team, Thompson said.
The move didn't come as a surprise. McCarthy told Ferguson after practice Thursday that the team would be going in a different direction.
Ferguson started 26 games in six seasons, but injuries kept him from staying healthy for a full season in recent years. The only year he played all 16 games was 2002.
He had a career-high 38 catches and four touchdowns in 2003, when he started 12 games.
M standout sustained a season-ending foot injury in Week 4 last year. He was lost to a knee injury in the final weeks of the 2005 season.
The most notable setback came late in 2004.
Jacksonville safety Donovin Darius laid out Ferguson with a clothesline hit as the receiver caught a pass from Brett Favre at Lambeau Field. Ferguson temporarily lost feeling in his extremities and was taken to a hospital.
Ferguson suffered head and neck injuries and didn't play the rest of that season.
The Packers had signed Ferguson to a four-year contract extension before the 2004 season.
Ferguson entered training camp faced with competition from several young receivers on the roster.
Donald Driver and Greg Jennings are the incumbent starters. James Jones, a third-round draft pick this year, has been impressive early in the preseason and appears to be the top candidate to win the No. 3 receiver spot.
The Packers figure to keep five or six receivers entering the season next month.
Ferguson had two catches in the preseason opener, a 13-9 win at Pittsburgh.

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