Report: Packers pursuing Culpepper as possible backup

Updated: April 23, 2008, 6:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

For the first time in his career, Aaron Rodgers knows he'll be the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback. While his role is certain, the Packers are still searching for his understudy and may end up turning to an ex-Viking to fill that role.

Daunte Culpepper

Culpepper

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Green Bay is exploring the possibility of signing Daunte Culpepper. Sources told the newspaper that Culpepper, 31, arrived in Green Bay on Tuesday night and visited with the team on Wednesday.

Culpepper played last season with the Oakland Raiders as part of their quarterback platoon with rookie JaMarcus Russell and veteran Josh McCown. Culpepper started six of the seven games he played last year, passing for 1,331 yards, five touchdowns, five interceptions and completed 58.1 percent of his passes.

The Vikings drafted Culpepper with the 11th pick of the 1999 draft, where he and Randy Moss teamed to form one of the NFL's most productive combos in the early part of this decade. In 5 seasons, Culpepper amassed 20,162 yards passing and 135 TD passes in 80 games, but saw his tenure with Minnesota come to an end after a severe knee injury in 2005.

He was traded to the Miami Dolphins before the 2006 season, where he struggled mightily early and was eventually shut down after four games to continue rehabbing his knee. The Dolphins then released Culpepper after the team acquired Trent Green from the Chiefs in an offseason deal.

Culpepper signed with the Raiders after his release from Miami.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson said earlier this week that the team's efforts to acquire another quarterback, through the draft or by another means, shouldn't be interpreted as a lack of confidence in Rodgers.

"If we take a player at any other position, it's no slight on the players that we have at those positions," Thompson said in his pre-draft news conference Monday. "Aaron, he's comfortable in his own skin. He understands the NFL is the NFL."

Rodgers, the Packers' first-round pick in 2005, finally gets his chance to start next season now that Favre has retired -- presumably for good. Thompson said that won't change, even if the Packers draft a quarterback early. Green Bay has the 30th pick in the first round of this weekend's draft.

"This is the National Football League, and everybody's got to stand on their own two feet," Thompson said. "And Aaron's been preparing for this time and he's been hoping for this time to come and now it's come. So yeah, he's going to be our quarterback.

"The quarterback position is an important position, and we feel very good about Aaron. There are other ways to get quarterbacks as you go through the spring and the summer, so we don't feel compelled to do anything. But again, if we can create more competition, that's a good thing."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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