When the Packers released Chad Clifton early last week, the assumption was that the veteran left tackle was likely done playing in the NFL.
According to Clifton, however, that may not be the case.
Speaking with ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde Friday morning, Clifton said he’s not retiring and would consider playing again if his back checks out and the right situation comes along.
“If there’s interest, we’ll see if I’m interested,” Clifton told Wilde. “If it’s the right situation, I think I would.”
Green Bay cut Clifton on April 23 after the soon-to-be 36-year-old failed his physical. The move cleared over $5 million from the Packers’ cap. Clifton said he wasn’t surprised by the move, made just three days before the NFL draft.
“I knew at some point they would want to get younger,” Clifton said. The Packers then drafted Florida State tackle Andrew Datko in the seventh-round, and also have young tackles in Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod and Chris Campbell already on the roster.
Injuries caught up with Clifton in a hurry over the last nine months.
Clifton missed all but six games in 2011 after tearing his hamstring during a road game against the Atlanta Falcons. He returned for the Packers’ divisional round loss to the Giants, but head coach Mike McCarthy pulled him midway through in favor of Newhouse.
Clifton later underwent offseason back surgery, which he said erased much of the pain that surfaced while he was rehabbing his hamstring injury. Clifton even attended some of the Packers’ early offseason workouts. But his back was what triggered the failed physical, so any team looking into Clifton moving forward would have to take another long look at that injury.
Drafted in the second round of the 2000 draft out of Tennessee, Clifton started 160 games over 12 years in Green Bay.