INDIANAPOLIS – It’s no secret that the Green Bay Packers are going to have to do something about two of their longest-tenured players – veteran wide receiver Donald Driver and veteran left tackle Chad Clifton. Both players have salary-cap numbers of $5 million or more for the 2012 season, and it’s a virtual certainty that neither will return at that price.
The Packers could release both players, restructure both of their contracts or release one and keep the other with a restructured deal. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole, the Packers will likely cut Clifton and restructure Driver’s deal, according to a source.
The 37-year-old Driver recently said that he’d be willing to accept a pay cut to stay with the team he joined as a seventh-round pick from Alcorn State in 1999. Clifton, the team’s starting left tackle since 2000, will turn 36 in June and, after missing much of the season with a torn hamstring and back injury, was benched in the Packers’ season-ending NFC Divisional Playoff loss to the New York Giants on Jan. 15.
Asked about Driver and Clifton Friday in the hallway of Lucas Oil Stadium after his podium session at the NFL Scouting Combine and managed to not speak about either player in his answer. But the fact that McCarthy switched the subject to the players’ exit interviews may have been an indicator that neither player will return.
“As hard as the day was for everybody after the loss against the Giants. I was, I don’t want to say proud, (but) I take a lot of pride in the way our players handled the exit interviews,” McCarthy said. “Just a lot of accountability, there was no excuses, there was no finger pointing. Really, the most positive exit interview I’ve been through, I’m talking about (in) years.
“I think it says a lot about our roster, and really the veterans are at the forefront of that. Just real excited about what we’ve accomplished so far as a program and the ability we have to move forward.”
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