One of the Canadian Football League’s most valuable players could potentially take his talents to the next level with the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers worked out CFL wide receiver Reggie Begelton on Tuesday afternoon along with three other candidates to join their active roster, which has one spot available after the team released cornerback Tony Brown last Saturday ahead of their regular-season finale.
Begelton just finished up his third and best season for the Calgary Stampeders with 102 receptions for 1,444 yards and 10 touchdowns, earning him the distinction of CFL All-Star as well as his team’s nomination for Most Outstanding Player in the league.
Former Mississippi quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who spent about a month on Tampa Bay’s practice squad, also auditioned for a roster spot along with cornerback Derrek Thomas (Baylor) and safety Austin Exford (Appalachian State). All three are NFL rookies who have yet to play a professional snap.
Fitzgerald was the primary backup to current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott during his freshman season with the Bulldogs but became a star once he took up starting duties early in his sophomore year. He threw for 6,207 yards and 55 touchdowns and rushed for another 3,607 yards and 46 touchdowns, the latter of which was a school record.
Thomas briefly spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers in training camp but was waived from the injured reserve list in mid-August with an injury settlement for an undisclosed injury. Exford lasted longer with the Houston Texans’ practice squad, but he’s been floating as a free agent since his release in early October.
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Midseason Additions Have Paid Off for Packers
While waiver wire transactions don’t always pan out, the Packers were pretty lucky with some of the players they brought into Green Bay during the regular season.
Tyler Ervin was added off the waivers from Jacksonville at the start of December and helped bring the Packers’ return game back from the brink. He averaged more than 12 yards per punt return in his first two performances with the Packers — wins over Washington and Chicago — and has continued to see his role grow beyond special teams, working as a rusher and receiver during Week 17’s victory at the Detroit Lions. Don’t be surprised if the Packers run a play or two around him in the postseason.
The other impact addition has been veteran offensive lineman Jared Veldheer, who had been retired for much of the season but decided, based on his improved health, to return to the game late in the season. After the New England Patriots waived him in November, Veldheer jumped aboard with the Packers as a backup for starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga and finally got to fulfill that role when Bulaga was injured against the Lions on Sunday, playing well in his 35 snaps.
One of the other additions who remains a mystery is former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Ryan Grant, who was signed to the team in place of Tra Carson but has yet to play a snap for the Packers. He played the first two weeks of the season for the Raiders, catching three passes for 16 yards in their season-opening win over the Denver Broncos.