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From San Francisco to Green Bay (twice) with coffee, clothes and new playbook for Quinton Dial

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The first thing that strikes you about Quinton Dial is his size. At 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds, he towers over most of the Green Bay Packers' other defensive linemen.

The second thing is how tired he must feel.

Dial, the latest member added to the Packers' roster, made two trips between San Francisco and Green Bay in a three-day span before he hit the practice field for the first time on Thursday afternoon.

"I ain't too bad," Dial said, chuckling. "I had a couple cups of coffee."

Quinton Dial (91) in his first practice. He brings some serious size to the interior of the Packers defensive line.

Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer ago

He's had more than just a cup of coffee in the NFL. He played in 46 games for the San Francisco 49ers over the last four years. He started 32 of those, including 26 over the last two seasons. So imagine his surprise when he was released on Saturday.

Actually, he was more surprised that former 49ers teammate Ahmad Brooks was let go a day earlier.

"I was really surprised at that one," Dial said. "I think he was one of our best outside backers out there, in my opinion."

Both are in Green Bay now, even if it took Dial a little longer to get here. Brooks practiced for the first time Wednesday, while Dial didn't land back in Green Bay until 10 that night.

"It was crazy," Dial said. "I got the news on Saturday they were going to release me out in San Francisco, and my agent told me Green Bay called that same day. … They said [they wanted] to bring me out for a visit in a couple days."

Dial arrived for his visit Monday evening, signed on Tuesday, and was back on a plane for the West Coast to retrieve some clothes and other belongings, only to get back on a plane Wednesday afternoon.

Still, Dial believes he can help the Packers in Sunday's opener if necessary. Part of the reason he's so confident is that Green Bay's opponent is the Seattle Seahawks; he faced them twice per year in the NFC West. Dial is mostly a run-stopper who can play several positions along the defensive line, including nose tackle. He's essentially a replacement for Letroy Guion, who was released last month.

Dial and Brooks were released, in part, because the 49ers changed from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Still, Dial wondered why the move came so late if he didn't fit their scheme. It would have been easier if they had released him after Kyle Shanahan was hired as head coach this offseason.

"Yeah, I would've liked that," Dial said. "It would've been better than right before the season. But at the end of the day, it's not my call. I just show up and do what I can do, and that's work hard every day, so that's what I'm going to do."

Dial said Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers' scheme is similar not only to what the 49ers ran but also to the college defense Dial played in at Alabama, where he was teammates with Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

"Let me tell you something: I didn't even know Quinton got cut. That was a total shock to me," Clinton-Dix said. "A guy that I've been watching since he got in the league, I didn't see that coming at all. That was a shock. When they told me they were bringing him in here, I'm like, 'Damn, he got cut?' That was definitely eye-opening.

"We got a steal. Now that I look at him standing next to Dean [Lowry, the 6-3, 313 pound defensive end], him and Dean kind of look alike. Man, I'm telling you, y'all are going to love him. Y'all will love him in this locker room. That's a player you will love, I'm telling you."