Left tackle Chad Clifton started his first game as a Packer October 15th, 2000, a game the Packers won over the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers used the 44th pick overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft to select Clifton out of Tennessee.
In the 12 seasons to follow, Clifton would prove to be one of the most durable, reliable players in Packers history, starting 160 games. But a lower back injury only allowed him to play six games last season. Clifton underwent back surgery in January but failed his physical to begin off season workouts. Monday he was officially released.
GM Ted Thompson wrote 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."
The Packers will save at least Clifton's base salary of $5.25 million and maybe a little more by releasing him. Marshall Newhouse is likely to be first in line for the job, but it could also be a position addressed in the draft.
-Here's a run down on who the experts and others in mock drafts think the Packers will select with the 28th pick overall.
Mel Kiper ESPN: Nick Perry LB, USC
Todd McShay ESPN: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Rob Rang CBS Sports: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State:
Peter Schrager Fox Sports: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
Green Bay Press Gazette Fan Mock Draft: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
-One position that may have been overlooked in Packers draft analysis prior to Matt Flynn's departure is the quarterback spot. It will be interesting just how high in the draft the Packers would select a potential back up for Aaron Rodgers.
A possibility could be Wisconsin's Russell Wilson. Wilson's height of 5-10 will probably push him into the later rounds. However, everyone seems love everything about the guy except for his size. Wilson is expected to go in the fourth-round or later.
One scout told Pete Dougherty of Gannett Media "I love everything about Russell Wilson. I see this guy developing into a starter in the league. Get him on a team as a No. 2, if the No. 1 gets hurt, he'll never get his job back."
-The NFL Draft schedule looks like this:
7 p.m. CT Thursday April 26th Round 1
6 p.m. CT Friday April 27th Rounds 2-3
11 a.m. CT Saturday April 28 Rounds 4-7
ESPN/ESPN2 and the NFL Network will have TV coverage all three days.
One interesting side note, both ESPN and the NFL have agreed not to show draftees getting phone calls from agents or others informing them they are about to be drafted.
Eric Weinberger the executive producer of the NFL Network told Sports Illustrated, "We realized that we have been doing the viewer a disservice in that we have lost some of the excitement of when the commissioner walks up to the podium and announces the pick for the first time, We're not going to tip when the kids are on the phone with their team. The first time the public hears officially that a young man is chosen is going to be from Commissioner Goodell's mouth."
-The Packers’ official 2012 NFL Draft Party is Thursday, April 26, at Curly’s Pub located in Lambeau Field, it is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.
-LeRoy Butler will be the Packers’ alumni player who announces Green Bay’s second-round pick on Friday live at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
CAPTION: Sep 12, 2010; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Chad Clifton (76) along the sidelines during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Packers defeated the Eagles 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
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