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Packers OL shuffle, remembering Al

by Mark Daniels

It's only seemed like a revolving door for Aaron Rodgers.  Since he became the starting quarterback of the Packers in 2008, he's been sacked 202 times, 51 last year when the offensive line was spinning from sack happy defensive linemen and linebackers like the front door at Macy's.   Head Coach Mike McCarthy has made no bones about it, the protection of the now 110 million dollar man has to improve and he's doing something about.   McCarthy is juggling his offensive line now to get ready for the 2013 season, moving Bryan Bulaga from right tackle to left tackle, Josh Sitton from right guard to left guard and sending T.J. Lang from left guard to right.  Evan Dietrich-Smith will assume the center position and the right tackle job is up for grabs among Don Barclay, who took over for Bulaga after his season ending hip injury last year, former number one pick Derrek Sherrod, if he'll ever recover from a nasty broken leg two years ago and Marshall Newhouse, last year's starter at left tackle who gave up 11 of those 51 sacks.

McCarthy wants to keep Bulaga and Sitton together to shore up the blind side of Rodgers.  Lang has played right guard in the past.   The move is being made now to give the musical chairs unit plenty of time to work together and learn the new hand and footwork requirements.

Once a Packer, always a Packer.  Al Harris hasn't played a snap of football since the middle of the 2011 season while with the St. Louis Rams.  He blew out a knee one last time after enduring an injury plagued year in Miami in 2010.  He was signed by the Dolphins after the Packers cut him following yet another knee injury just as the Pack was taking off on their Super Bowl SLV journey.  Al arrived in Green Bay in 2002, thanks to then GM Mike Sherman who sent a second round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles,  Harris immediately became the starter at corner and was a model of stability and durability.   He started 83 consecutive games during one stretch and was one of the league's best press-man cover corners. Harris finally earned Pro Bowl status in his final two full seasons with Green Bay.   His signature play of course came in the 2003 Wild Card game at Lambeau Field against the Seattle Seahawks.    On the overtime coin toss, Matt Hasselbeck declared, "We want the ball and we're going to score."   Got only half of that right.   Harris jumped a slant with a full blitz and took the interception 52 yards for the clinching touchdown in the 33-27 victory.  Al felt his best game was a two pick, three breakup, quarterback sack performance against the Saints in 2005, a 52-3 rout.  Harris spent seven of his 14 NFL seasons in a Packers uniform and he told reporters Wednesday, "It was important to me to retire as a Packer, Green Bay is a special place to play football."  Fans will undoubtably remember the dreadlocks, but they should also remember Al's work in the community.  His celebrity bowling event was always a riot.  While often difficult with the media, I felt I got along very well with Harris, often chatting up strategy off the record at his locker.   Harris is taking the strategic study to heart, hooking up with his former Eagles coach, Andy Reid, now in Kansas City, becoming an assistant defensive backfield coach.  If the Chiefs deploy the in your face, press man coverage, they've got one of the best ever to show them how.