GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers have elevated receiver Juwann Winfree to the gameday roster for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
Officially, Winfree will be a COVID-19 replacement for fellow receiver Malik Taylor, who was placed on the COVID-19 list on Friday. Their 52-man roster included Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Equanimeous St. Brown and Amari Rodgers at receiver.
Also on Saturday, the team downgraded veteran offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (back) to out.
With Green Bay’s primary receivers missing most of the offseason practices, someone had to step up. That player was Winfree, who strung together a terrific set of practices to thrust himself into the mix headed into training camp.
“He's been awesome,” receivers coach Jason Vrable said early in training camp. “I think he's been playing faster, and I don't know if it's his knowledge of the playbook or just trusting what we're looking for. When he first was here, it was a lot of movements and all that stuff, where now he's just taking angles on guys and using his feet and using his speed and his talents and creates separation.
“But he's also learning the playbook. I know he got to play last year in the Jacksonville game but went in there and you can just see he wasn't as comfortable as he is now. I think our system does take a while if you've never been in it before to try to fully grasp everything. Now he feels comfortable playing all positions and doing an awesome job. I think from last year to now he's just done a tremendous job and it's all on him. He's put in the work and we're really, really happy with him.”
However, he missed a big chunk of training camp with a shoulder injury and ultimately lost out to Taylor for a spot on the 53.
After finishing his college career at Colorado, Winfree was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 draft by the Denver Broncos. His rookie season was thrown for a loss by a groin injury in training camp and a hamstring injury late in the year. After playing in three games (no offensive stats) in 2019, he failed to make Denver’s roster last year after it drafted three receivers.
He joined Green Bay’s practice squad on Oct. 1, 2020, and was elevated to the gameday roster twice, logging eight snaps on offense and 21 more on special teams.