Updated Monday, April 23, 2:05 p.m. ET
The Packers released OLT Chad Clifton on Monday, it was announced by GM Ted Thompson.
Reports say that Clifton failed a physical. He had offseason back surgery and had not recovered well enough to the team’s liking. It is unknown if Clifton, who will be 36 years old in late June, will sign with another NFL team or opt to retire.
A 12-year NFL veteran, Clifton was a staple on the Green Bay offensive line for his entire career. He played in 165 career games, starting 160 of them, and reached two Pro Bowls during his career (2007, ’10).
He played in just six games last season, plus the Packers’ divisional-round playoff game vs. the Giants. Hamstring issues kept him on the sideline for much of the year, and then back problems flared up this offseason that required surgery.
Clifton ranks No. 2 in franchise history for the most games played by an offensive tackle behind only Forrest Gregg (187 games). He blocked for five of the top eight single-season rushers in franchise history (Ahman Green, 2001-03; Ryan Grant, 2008-09).
Clifton helped pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in eight of his 12 seasons in Green Bay and was a part of top-10 offenses in nine of those seasons. He played on eight playoff teams in Green Bay, highlighted by the 2010 squad that won Super Bowl XLV.
“Chad is a great Packer and has been an integral part of our success over the past 12 seasons,” Thompson said. “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 way we see it
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy raised eyebrows at the league owners' meeting in March when he claimed the 35-year-old Clifton was still very much in the mix for the 2012 campaign. When the veteran tackle showed up for the team's offseason conditioning program, reports of his demise in Green Bay seemed to be that much more premature, as Clifton was indicating that his surgically repaired back was feeling good.
As it turned out, his latest physical exam indicated otherwise, apparently solidifying Marshall Newhouse's hold on the starting OLT spot. It also increases the likelihood that the Packers will draft a tackle or two later this week with 2011 first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod also having his share of injury issues, coming off a season-ending broken tibia and fibula.