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Packers expected to sign former Texans DE Whitney Mercilus

The Green Bay Packers is expected to sign defensive end Whitney Mercilus, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and James Palmer reported Wednesday, adding pass-rushing help to a defense averaging 2.3 sacks per game.

SportsTalk790's Aaron Wilson first reported the news.

For Mercilus, it's a new home for a nine-plus-year career spent entirely with the Houston Texans until now. Mercilus recorded three sacks in six games (two starts) for the Texans this season, but was released earlier this week. He's made 57 career sacks and, though aging at 31, was considered a heart-and-soul member of the Texans roster and drew a heartfelt goodbye on social media from fellow defensive lineman Charles Omenihu upon his release. Mercilus called it a "mutual" parting, and signaled he'd sign with a contending team upon his release.

"That's the direction I want to go," Mercilus said, per the Houston Chronicle.

Indeed, he did.

With the move to Green Bay, Mercilus ascends in the NFL standings from the bottom of the AFC South, where the Texans are 1-5, to the top of the NFC North. The Packers (5-1) hold a two-game division lead over the 3-3 Vikings and Bears.

It's been an active October adding to the Packers defense for general manager Brian Gutekunst, who signed Cowboys cast-off linebacker Jaylon Smith earlier this month as well. Green Bay pass rusher Za'Darius Smith is out indefinitely following back surgery.

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