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Green Bay Packers to place Za’Darius Smith (back) on IR

Sep 12, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Green Bay Packers linebacker Za'Darius Smith (55) stands on the sidelines during the game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) stands on the sidelines during the game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers defensive end Za’Darius Smith is headed to injured reserve due to an ailing back, coach Matt LaFleur said Friday.

Smith, 29, recorded one tackle while playing in only 18 defensive snaps in the Packers’ 38-3 season-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints last weekend.

“We’re going to have to shut him down for a while,” LaFleur said. “It’s a matter of, do just you keep him in a limited role, or do you shut him down for a while, try to get him healthy, and get him up to the snap count that you’d like him to be just like he’s been in the past.

“He’s been such an impact player. It’s just the route that we thought was best long-term.”

Smith registered 12.5 sacks, 52 tackles, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 16 games (all starts) last season.

A Pro Bowl selection in both 2019 and 2020, Smith has 227 tackles, 44.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 91 career games (48 starts) with the Baltimore Ravens (2015-18) and Packers.

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–Field Level Media