Green Bay Packers release TE Jace Sternberger with two-game suspension complete

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers released former third-round pick Jace Sternberger on Tuesday just as he completed his two-game NFL suspension for violating the league's policy and program on substances of abuse.

The tight end was the 75th overall pick in the 2019 draft but never found a consistent role in the Packers' offense due to injuries and others leapfrogging him on the depth chart.

In 18 career games, he has 12 catches for 114 yards and one touchdown. He played in only six games as a rookie in part due to a concussion he sustained in joint training camp practices with the Houston Texans. He sustained another concussion late last season and missed the final four regular-season games because of it. He was cleared for the postseason but was a healthy scratch for both playoff games.

The Packers have four tight ends on the roster, and three of them (Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis and Dominique Dafney) were active for Monday night's win over the Lions. The fourth, Josiah Deguara, remains in the concussion protocol.

"That's always a tough decision whenever you have a competitive room like that," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday. "It was one of those deals where we appreciate everything Jace has done. You know, it was just a tough decision."

At the time of his suspension in June, Sternberger said he made a "horrible decision" to drink after taking antidepressants and fell asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle in February 2020. He said he has been in therapy since the incident.

"I want to apologize to the GB Packers organization and everyone else who has supported me along this journey," Sternberger wrote in a statement at the time. "It is never okay to drink and get behind the wheel."

Sternberger is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers, but indications are he would be more interested in starting fresh elsewhere.