Left tackle Chad Clifton has played all 12 seasons of his career with the Green Bay Packers but after an injury plagued year, that might all change.
At the age of 35, Clifton had his worst season as he was only able to play in six games after injuring his left hamstring and then his back. When he finally was able to make a start in the regular season finale against the Detroit Lions, he only played two series and looked rusty in both.
Head coach Mike McCarthy decided to go with the veteran against the New York Giants in the Divisional playoff round which ended up backfiring. Clifton was constantly beat and was pulled for Marshall Newhouse before the end of the first half. Too much surprise of many fans, Clifton was in the game to start the second half.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense were driving down the field with ease as they looked to come within three points of the Giants. As Rodgers stepped back to throw to a wide open Greg Jennings on the left sideline, the ball was swiped out of his hand. It was Clifton who was terribly beat and his man who forced the fumble. Clifton was the first person to pounce on the ball but instead of recovering it he pushed it between his legs where the Giants eventually ended up with it.
If he didn’t have a disastrous hamstring injury we might not even be having this conversation. To sit out since week 5 and be expected to perform against the best defensive line in all of football is asking a lot. It is not like it was his decision to be put back in the game after he clearly showed he was unable to play at a high level.
Clifton has been very good for the Packers for a very long time and was a huge reason why Green Bay was able to win Super Bowl XLV last year. Unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end.
He still has one more year on his contract in which he is set to make $5.25 million ($203,125 roster bonus) next season.