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Thu, 26 Apr 2012 03:26 AM EDT

The Green Bay Packers released vet left tackle Chad Clifton on Monday, saying bye to a player who anchored their pass protection for at least 10 years. Baseball spreads

Clifton has been the Packers’ 1st left tackle since 2000, beginning 160 games over twelve seasons with quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. He started only 6 games last season because of hamstring and back injuries.

Clifton had offseason back surgery and failed a team physical; it isn’t certain whether Clifton will be well placed to play again, resources claimed. Baseball lines

“Chad is a good Packer and has been an important element of our victory during the last 12 seasons,” Packers managing director Ted Thompson said in an announcement. “He was a member of a few of the most prolific offenses in team record, 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 locally and wish him and his family well.”

Clifton played 165 career games for Green Bay and ranks 2nd in franchise record for the most games played by an offensive tackle behind only Forrest Gregg, who played in 187. Clifton was chosen to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2010.

Marshall Newhouse played well enough in Clifton’s absence last year that it wasn’t a sure thing that the veteran would get his role back when he returned near the end of the season. Clifton started the Packers’ playoff loss to the N.Y Giants but got replaced by Newhouse in the 3rd quarter.

Speaking at NFL meetings last month, Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters there had been “certainly a chance” that Clifton may stay with the team but claimed it ultimately would be a medical decision.

“He’s somebody we’ll continue to talk about and get the statements,” McCarthy said at the time. “He’s down in Tennessee now, so we’ll see how he recovers.”

With Clifton gone, the Packers’ choices at left tackle for next season include Newhouse and Derek Sherrod, last year’s 1st-round draft pick. Sherrod is getting over a broken leg in the Packers’ December 18 loss at Kansas City.

The Packers also could consider moving Bryan Bulaga from right tackle.

With the draft set to begin with the 1st round Thursday night, Clifton’s future isn’t the only major selection facing the Packers this offseason. There also is doubt over the way ahead for safety Nick Collins, who sustained a season-ending neck injury last year. It’s not clear if Collins will be in a position to return.

There also has been speculation that the team may part tactics with veteran receiver Donald Driver, though McCarthy asserted at the league conferences the Packers “absolutely” still had room for Driver.

“I thought Donald, the 2nd 1/2 of the season, he played really well,” McCarthy said. “His job, so far as opportunities, was not as high as it’s been in the past, but I believed Donald was terribly constant down the stretch.”

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