Starter Pack: More questions at center

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
8:00
AM ET
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- That the Packers released backup center Greg Van Roten on Tuesday wasn't as surprising as the timing and their reason for doing so.

According to his agent, the Packers wanted to get bigger at his position.

Van Roten, who was listed at 6-foot-3 and 303 pounds, was actually up to 315 pounds last season before he injured his foot in Week 5. That would have made him the biggest center on the roster. Instead, after two seasons as a backup, Van Roten is looking for work.

It's worth wondering what that means for Evan Dietrich-Smith, who took over as the starting center in late 2012 and held the job for the entire 2013 season. At 6-2 and 308 pounds, Dietrich-Smith is no bigger than Van Roten.

If the Packers indeed want to get bigger up the middle, then perhaps Dietrich-Smith, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, might not be re-signed.

The only other centers on the Packers' roster are JC Tretter (6-4, 307) and Garth Gerhart (6-1, 310).

In case you missed it on ESPN.com: Best of the rest:
  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde profiled Gash, who talked about the rigors of playing 12 years as an NFL fullback.
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Weston Hodkiewicz also profiled Gash. Also in the Press-Gazette, via USA Today, Jim Corbett talked to Vince Lombardi Jr., who explained that his legendary father might have been the perfect coach for Sam.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tyler Dunne wrote that Sam's position coach at Missouri, Craig Kuligowski, believes his former player will have to adjust to playing outside linebacker in the NFL but that he should be drafted within the first three rounds.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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