Packers Release DT Willis

Gerald Willis was an All-American at Miami to cap a chaotic collegiate career.
Author:
Publish date:

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers released defensive tackle Gerald Willis on Sunday.

A high school All-American, Willis spent his freshman season of 2014 at Florida but was kicked off the team. He landed at Miami, played in 2016 and took a leave of absence in 2017. So, here was the tale of the tape heading into the 2018 season: At least three suspensions, two schools, two seasons without ever getting on the field, one yearlong leave of absence, one fistfight with a teammate and zero starts.

In 2018, Willis returned to action and tallied four sacks and 18 tackles for losses among 59 tackles to earn some All-American accolades. The bad outweighed the good, so he went undrafted in 2019.

“My story helps me a lot,” he said at the 2019 Scouting Combine. “I’ve been through a long journey. Everybody knows. It helped me to focus and never give up.” Said Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz: “I know it’s very easy to be cynical about college football and the impact that it has on these guys that play the sport. Everything’s not as good as it could be. But stories like Gerald Willis are at the core of what this sport’s about and the transformation in that guy from the first day we got here ... he’s a different guy and everybody sees it.”

Originally signed by Baltimore after the 2019 draft, Willis spent the first half of his rookie season on the Dolphins’ practice squad before being promoted. He recorded two tackles in two games but wound up on season-ending injured reserve (hip). The Dolphins released him before the draft and the Packers picked him up off waivers.

His older brother is NFL star safety Landon Collins.

Willis was one of three modest additions to the defensive line during the offseason. One was veteran Treyvon Hester, a seventh-round pick by Oakland in 2017 with two career starts. The other is Willington Previlon, an undrafted free agent who was Rutgers’ team MVP last season.

The release of Willis leaves Green Bay’s roster at 89 players, with only seven of those playing on the defensive line. They have to be at 80 by Aug. 16.

90 TO 1 ROSTER COUNTDOWN

Part 1 (87 to 90): FB Elijah Wellman, FB Jordan Jones, G Zack Johnson, S Henry Black

Part 2 (83 to 86): CBs DaShaun Amos, Will Sunderland, Stanford Samuels, Marc-Antoine Dequoy

Part 3 (80 to 82): DT Willington Previlon, RB Damarea Crockett, S Frankie Griffin

Part 4 (77 to 79): G Simon Stepaniak, G Cole Madison, T Cody Conway

Part 5 (76): QB Jalen Morton can throw a football 100 yards

Part 6 (73 to 75) TE James Looney, TE Evan Baylis, RB Patrick Taylor

Part 7 (70 to 72) OLBs Jamal Davis, Randy Ramsey, Greg Roberts

Part 8 (67 to 69) LBs Krys Barnes, Delontae Scott, Tipa Galeai

No. 66: Well-rounded OT Travis Bruffy

No. 65: WR Malik Taylor

No. 64: WR Darrius Shepherd

No. 63: RB Dexter Williams

No. 62: DT Gerald Willis

No. 61: ILB Curtis Bolton

No. 60: CB Kabion Ento

No. 59: C Jake Hanson

No. 58: OLB Jonathan Garvin

No. 57: OT John Leglue

No. 56: DT Treyvon Hester

No. 55: WR Darrell Stewart

No. 54: WR Reggie Begelton

No. 53: S Vernon Scott

No. 52: OLB Tim Williams

No. 51: Ka’darHollman

No. 50: G/T Jon Runyan

No. 49: WR Jake Kumerow

No. 48: OT Alex Light

No. 47: TE Robert Tonyan

No. 46: LS Hunter Bradley

No. 45: DT Montravius Adams

No. 44: ILB Kamal Martin

No. 43: OT Yosh Nijman

No. 42: S Will Redmond

No. 41: G/C Lucas Patrick

No. 40: ILB Ty Summers

No. 39: WR Equanimeous St. Brown

No. 38: TE Josiah Deguara

No. 37: RB Tyler Ervin

No. 36: Lane Taylor

No. 35: RB AJ Dillon

No. 34: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

No. 33: DT Tyler Lancaster

No. 32: CB Josh Jackson

No. 31: WR Devin Funchess

No. 30: S Raven Greene

No. 29: TE Marcedes Lewis

No. 28: DT Kingsley Keke

No. 27: ILB Oren Burks

No. 26: P JK Scott

No. 25: QB Tim Boyle

No. 24: OLB Rashan Gary

No. 23: RB Jamaal Williams

No. 22: RG Billy Turner

No. 21: QB Jordan Love

No. 20: TE Jace Sternberger

No. 19: DT Dean Lowry

No. 18: G Elgton Jenkins

No. 17: CB Chandon Sullivan