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The Green Bay Packers released defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois — again.It’s the second time this season they’ve let the ninth-year veteran go.

The first time came after he played just six snaps in the regular-season opener. They brought him back in Week 3.

On Wednesday, they released him again. Although they didn’t immediately replace him on the roster, they’re likely to fill his spot with rookie fourth-round outside linebacker Vince Biegel, who appears ready to come off the physically unable to perform list.

Biegel returned to practice on Oct. 18, the earliest possible date he could have taken the field after starting the season on PUP. It was the first time he was on the field since Packers rookie camp in May, when a recurring foot problem forced him to undergo a second surgery in less than year. Biegel first had surgery in the fall of 2016 during his senior season at Wisconsin.

The Packers hope Biegel can boost their pass rush, which has only seven sacks from their outside linebacker group (3.5 from Nick Perry, 2.5 from Clay Matthews and 1 from Ahmad Brooks).

Biegel would have to be activated or placed on injured reserve by the end of this week, when his three-week window to practice without counting against the roster ends.

“It’s like any player coming off whether it’s IR or PUP, there’s thresholds you have to jump over,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said this week. “I thought he did a nice job practicing going into the New Orleans game. He’s going to have an opportunity to compete, and then we’ll make the decision whether to bring him up to the 53, and then from that you make the decision on the 46.”

Francois signed a one-year, $2 million contract that included a $250,000 signing bonus during free agency this past offseason. When the Packers re-signed him, they gave him nearly the exact same contract minus the signing bonus. As a vested veteran, he’s eligible to claim the rest of his $1.25 million base salary as termination pay. Players are allowed to do that just once in their careers.

In all, Francois appeared in six games for the Packers and made just two tackles.

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Vince Biegel isn’t trying to make up for five missed months in just a couple of practices, and the Green Bay Packers don’t appear inclined to throw their 2017 fourth-round pick into action right away.

Biegel returned to practice this week — the earliest possible time for a player on the physically unable to perform list. It was the first time he put on a helmet and pads since he underwent foot surgery in May.

The Packers hope the outside linebacker from Wisconsin can help them at some point this season, but don’t expect it to be this week against the New Orleans Saints. Biegel could practice for three weeks before the Packers have to either activate him off PUP and add him to the roster or place him on injured reserve.

“I think that’s a coaches’ decision, whether they want to take the full three weeks with me,” Biegel said. “I’m mentally preparing to play this week. Now if they decide to activate me this week, that’s an upstairs decision. I’m going to continue to prepare like I have been these last six weeks. And over the six weeks I’ve been preparing to play against the Saints. Whether that’s this week or whether that after the bye week on Monday Night Football with Detroit, I’ll be ready for that moment.”

Coach Mike McCarthy didn’t sound inclined to throw Biegel into the mix this week.

“I think you have to look at the whole thing, the type of injury, what he’s gone through and what he’s done to this point,” McCarthy said Thursday. “I think it’s important to get on the field and practice and evaluate that, not only how he does in the football structure but how his body reacts through the first couple of weeks. I think it’s a normal process that all these guys go through when they first get on the field.”

Vince Biegel (45) practiced in pads for the first time in his NFL career. He remains on PUP but the fourth-round pick’s recovery from May foot surgery appears to be complete.

Before this week, Biegel had yet to practice with the full squad. He worked during the rookie camp in May before he experienced an issue with his right foot — the same foot that needed surgery last fall during his senior year with the Badgers.

“Obviously, a long way to go,” Biegel said. “I still have a long way to knock off the rust. But it really did feel good to be out there and have a healthy practice under my belt.”

The Packers picked Biegel at No. 108 overall — the first pick of the fourth round. It was a selection they acquired from the Browns when the Packers traded their first-round pick (No. 29 overall) to Cleveland. Many thought the Packers would use their first-round pick on Biegel’s former college teammate, outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who ended up going one spot later to the Steelers. Watt has played in five of six games this season and has 3.0 sacks.

In bypassing Watt and trading their first-round pick, the Packers were able to get two players: cornerback Kevin King at No. 33 (with the second-round pick acquired from Cleveland) and Biegel. Only King has been able to make an impact this season, but Biegel is holding out hope that will change.

“That’s why they drafted me, to be an impact player, to make plays for this team,” Biegel said. “That’s the expectations I have for myself and that’s what I plan on doing moving forward. Obviously, I haven’t played football in six-plus months here, so being able to go out there, move around, work on some of my handwork and being able to knock off some of that rust is what it’s all about. It might not be this week, but I know as practice goes along I’m going to continue to get better and better as time goes on. I definitely have a long way to go, but I’m excited for that.”