GREEN BAY, Wis. – Jake Kumerow still doesn't regret the dive.
The one that sprained the SC joint in his right shoulder.
That has him stuck on injured reserve.
That, for now, makes him possibly the Green Bay Packers greatest receiver never to play in an actual game.
He said it right after the injury, in the Aug. 16 preseason game.
"I felt like diving in just to finish it off," Kumerow said.
And again two weeks later when he went on injured reserve.
"I'd dive again if I had the chance," Kumerow said on Sept. 3, the day he was put on IR. "When you're trying to score, you have to do whatever it takes to get in the end zone."
He doesn't feel any differently today, even though he remains on injured reserve. He would go only so far as to acknowledge how different things might be right now.
At the time, the former undrafted free agent from Wisconsin-Whitewater who had practice-squad stints with the Bengals, Patriots and Packers was easily No. 4 on the receiver depth chart and perhaps even pushing for No. 3. Aaron Rodgers couldn't praise him enough even as he called out other young receivers.
In parts of two preseason games, he caught six passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. The last two numbers led the Packers' summer stats even though he didn't play in the final two exhibition games.
No one doubted that the 6-foot-4 Kumerow belonged in the NFL even as a 26-year-old who had no regular-season game experience.
Until the dive, that is.
The Packers kept him on the initial 53-man roster, which makes him eligible for one of the two designated-to-return spots teams are allowed each season. Fellow receiver Trevor Davis, who had a hamstring injury, also is in that category.
Kumerow was medically cleared to return the day after the Packers' last game, the Monday Night Football win over the 49ers on Oct. 15. Per the IR rules, he was eligible to practice beginning this week and then could play in another two, but he was not activated. Neither was Davis. For once a player on IR returns to practice, it counts as one of the two return slots.
"You see them every day going through the rehab process down there in the Hutson Center, they're ready," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said this week. "They're champing at the bit. There's timing to this, too. There's so many other factors involved, not just exactly where we feel they are. That's kind of the normal process."
In this case, the other factors involved include the improved health of starting receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, along with the improvements from rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. Cobb missed the past three games and Allison the past two because of hamstring injuries. Both are on track to play Sunday against the Rams. Valdes-Scantling (a fifth-round pick) posted his first 100-yard game (three catches for 103 yards against the 49ers) and has a 17.7-yard average on 12 catches, and St. Brown (a sixth-round pick) made a key catch late in the last-second win over San Francisco.
"I think it's clearly one of the variables," McCarthy said. "I think with the young players having an opportunity to play and perform, you definitely factor that in. At the end of the day, you need all your players. I think at the end of this journey, it will reflect that. That's why you put players on IR-return."