Whitney Mercilus joined the Green Bay Packers in October after being released by the Houston Texans after 10 seasons. However, his chance to prove he was still a high-caliber linebacker was cut short in mid-November when he suffered a torn bicep against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Packers placed Mercilus on injured reserve and the assuming was that his season was over. It was a shame as he’d already put together a decent stat line, garnering 10 quarterback pressures, five tackles, and a sack in 80 snaps. 

However, onlookers were greeted to a surprising reveal on Thursday as Mercilus was spotted back at Packers practice as the team prepares for a bye week before their first playoff game as the top seed in the NFC this year.

“Here’s a surprise: Veteran OLB Whitney Mercilus, who was thought to be lost for the season to a torn biceps on Nov. 14, has been designated to return and practiced today,” wrote ESPN reporter Rob Demovsky.

It’s a real “the rich get richer” situation for Green Bay, who will be the most-rested team in the NFC and have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Notably, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said his injured toe should be “100%” by next week. The team also welcomed wide receiver Randall Cobb back to practice last week in a similar surprise, as he wasn’t expected to return from injury until well into the playoffs.

The odds are very much in the Packers’ favor when it comes to getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time in a decade. And the reaction around NFL circles on social media reflected that.

Mercilus likely fills the fourth linebacker spot for the Packers, which might not sound like a major addition, but given the critical need for depth, his return could end up being a major storyline depending on how things play out. If nothing else, the Packers appear to be primed for a deep playoff run based on how healthy they are.

[Rob Demovsky]

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.