Green Bay Packers mini camp invite exactly what UMass running back Ellis Merriweather asked for

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-02-2023 3:17 PM

Once Ellis Merriweather steps on the Green Bay Packers practice field, it won’t matter that he wasn’t drafted.

It won’t matter that he went to junior college or UMass. Or that the team hadn’t contacted him much during the draft process.

He’ll have a yellow helmet with the classic white and green G on it – and a chance.

“It’s me one on one with you, and I want to see where your heart’s at,” Merriweather said. “And I want to see where mine’s at, too.”

Merriweather received the rookie mini-camp invitation Monday and will travel to Wisconsin on Thursday, where he’ll stay until Saturday and practice with the Packers’ 13 draft picks, 12 undrafted free agents and other mini-camp invitees.

“It ended up working out how it needed to. Now it’s time for me to go there and show what I do,” Merriweather said. “It’s all I’ve been asking for. Especially the way the season went, I was praying and hoping I’d get an opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound, Alpharetta, Georgia, native obviously wanted to be drafted but knew he likely could have to follow another route.

“I was disappointed I didn’t get drafted, but a lot things happen I can’t control. It’s up for grabs,” he said. “It’s a what have you done for me lately type of business. I didn’t get as much opportunity to go off.”

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Merriweather missed two games with a concussion and only played a quarter of the season finale against Army. He still amassed 575 yards and three touchdowns but didn’t reach the heights of his 2021 campaign, where he was named to Phil Steele’s all-independent second team and posted the most rushing yards in UMass’ FBS history (1,138).

“We came from UMass we weren’t really winning and we didn’t do a lot on offense collectively. At the end of the day, I still got a phone call,” Merriweather said. “It’s a great opportunity as a running back to come into that offense and show what I provide.”

Green Bay running backs coach Ben Sirmans coached Merriweather’s agent Nate Richman at Boston College.

“I’m not sure if it’s because of the connections or they had me on their board,” Merriweather said. “I’ve got to embrace that. It’s part of my journey. It always seems to get the best out of me when I’m counted out. I’ve been tested and tried and challenged all my life.”

Ideally Merriweather will catch on in Green Bay and sign to join the team for the preseason. If not, he also has in invitation to New Orleans Saints mini-camp or could catch on with another team.

“I’m going to keep working. I’m trying to stay locked in and focused on what’s important and what I can do to continue this journey and not make this something where I’m telling my kids and my nephews, ‘I could’ve did this and I should’ve did this,’” Merriweahter said. “No. I want to make sure you know that I did it.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>