The leash on one disappointing Packer may be shorter than you think.
According to Pro Football Weekly, the Packers may release defensive end Mike Neal sometime after the 2012 NFL draft.
Although it is not a given, our Packers sources will not be shocked in the least if the team releases injury-prone DE Mike Neal after the draft. The announcement that Neal will be suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances certainly isn’t helping his chances of remaining on the roster, we hear.
A second-round pick of the Packers in 2010, Neal has played in just nine career games in two NFL seasons. He has recorded just six tackles and one sack over that span, with injuries to both his knee ('11, nine games) and shoulder ('10, 14 games) limiting the 6-3, 294-pound defensive end.
A four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy will ensure Neal makes it three years in a row not playing a full season.
The Packers have signed two players along the defensive line this offseason—Daniel Muir and Tony Hargrove—and are likely to invest at least one pick at the position in the draft. While you'd like to think the Packers would give such a young player—Neal is just 24 years old—one last chance at salvaging his career in camp, it's possible the team could be so fed up with the defensive end that they are willing to move on once more reinforcements arrive.
As GM Ted Thompson found out with 2007 first-round pick Justin Harrell, patience and potential can only go so far for keeping a player on the roster. Neal's future in Green Bay appears to be in similar doubt.