According to a report from Adam Schefter and ESPN.com, the Green Bay Packers are releasing veteran offensive tackle Chad Clifton.
Clifton was drafted by the team in 2000 in the second round out of Tennessee. Clifton was a remarkable player for most of the past 12 seasons, but found his body beginning to betray itself after missing ten games this past season. According to the ESPN report, Clifton was the oldest starting left tackle in the National Football League.
He started 160 of his 165 career games as Packer and was selected to two Pro Bowls. Clifton and Mark Tauscher provided much needed stability to an offensive line that was greatly in flux during the beginning of Mike McCarthy’s time as Packers head coach.
It’s truly an end of an era in Green Bay. Clifton was the last piece standing from the great offensive line the Packers had in the early 2000s. he helped Ahman Green become one of the the best running backs in Packers history and helped transition the team between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre
Clifton was owed $5.7 million in salary and bonuses this year.
Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod and maybe even Brian Bulaga wait in the wings to replace Clifton. That could give Packer fans cause for concern as Sherrod went down with an injury last season and Newhouse was inconsistent. Bulaga meanwhile has shown potential to be one of the better right tackles in the game so it may not make much sense the Packers to move him to the other side.
Could the left tackle position be an area of focus for the Packers in this weekend’s NFL draft? Stay tuned.——————
Kris Burke is a freelance sports writer currently residing in Wisconsin. His work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke