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Packers bench veteran center Jeff Saturday

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Jeff Saturday is ready and able to play for the Packers on Sunday, but he's not starting. And it's because he's been benched for Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Saturday confirmed the benching to ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde and called it a "passing of the torch."

Saturday was signed this offseason by Green Bay after a 13-year career with the Colts, in order to replace departed center Scott Wells.

The veteran is ranked 30th by Pro Football Focus out of all NFL centers, and his pass-blocking rate is probably helped by the fact that he has Aaron Rodgers taking snaps under center.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy hinted at a possible change earlier Friday, before Saturday confirmed the benching.

"We'll see," McCarthy said. "We'll probably go with Evan Dietrich-Smith to start the game."

In other words, Saturday's health (he's dealing with neck and shoulder injuries) isn't the reason why he's sitting. It's his play, which is unfortunate, because he has been a great player for his entire career.

But now the 37-year-old's future in Green Bay, and perhaps in the NFL, looks very much in doubt.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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