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Green Bay releases veteran T Chad Clifton

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
Green Bay will release Clifton after he failed a physical. (US Presswire)
Left tackle Chad Clifton has been a fixture on Green Bay's offensive line since 2000, and before the 2011 season, he had started 122 of the last 122 games in which he played. But he missed 10 games last year with a hamstring injury and back issues, and though he returned in time for the playoffs, it's not altogether surprising that he failed his physical for the start of Packers offseason workouts.

As a result, the team has released Clifton.

It wasn't the hamstring that did in Clifton, though; Clifton also had back surgery in the offseason. And now that he's been released, you have to wonder if his career is over.

Said team general manager Ted Thompson in a statement: “Chad is a great Packer and has been an integral part of our success over the past 12 seasons. 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.”

When asked about Clifton at the recent owner's meetings, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy didn't rule out the possibility of bringing back Clifton (even though he also sounded lukewarm about the idea).

“There's definitely a possibility,” McCarthy said, via ESPN Milwaukee. “We haven't taken him off, so he's someone we'll continue to talk about and get the reports. He's down in Tennessee now, so we'll see how he recovers.

“Chad, he's going to be on a pitch count. He can't go through a full training camp and it's been like that for some time. It's a medical decision. That's what it will come down to.”

Whether it's the back issues or whether Green Bay just didn't want to pay him his $5.25 million base salary for 2012, quarterback Aaron Rodgers's blindside no longer will be protected by a longtime veteran.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.
 
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