GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Green Bay Packers are parting ways with veteran offensive tackle Chad Clifton.
“Chad is a great Packer and has been an integral part of our success over the past 12 seasons,” Packers GM Ted Thompson said in a release. “He was a member of some of the most prolific offenses in team history, but more importantly, he is a great person and teammate. We thank Chad for all that he has given the Packers on the field and in the community and wish him and his family well.”
ESPN reports team sources as saying that the 35-year-old Clifton failed a team physical and had back surgery in the offseason.
Last year, Clifton was limited to just 6 games with back and hamstring problems.
At last month’s NFL owners’ meetings, coach Mike McCarthy said Clifton would still be in the mix for this season if he’s healthy enough. But money could also be a consideration.
Clifton was scheduled to make $5.25 million this year, plus another half-million in reporting and workout bonuses. Those would all be taken off the salary cap if he’s released. And the amount could be close to what the Packers would need to sign 12 picks they’re currently scheduled to have when the NFL Draft takes place Thursday night through Saturday.
Should Clifton leave, either Marshall Newhouse or last year’s top pick Derek Sherrod could replace him.
Clifton, who was selected by the Packers in the second round (No. 44 overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft, went on to appear in 165 games with 160 starts at left tackle during his 12-year career in Green Bay. He ranks No. 2 in franchise history for the most games played by an offensive tackle behind only Forrest Gregg (187 games). Clifton was selected to the Pro Bowl twice during his career (2007 and 2010) and blocked for five of the top eight single-season rushers in franchise history (Ahman Green, 2001-03; Ryan Grant, 2008-09).