The Green Bay Packers have released linebacker Desmond Bishop, seen last month during OTA practices. File/Press-Gazette Media
The Green Bay Packers have made the decision to move on without inside linebacker Desmond Bishop.
Bishop, 28, spoke with Packers general manager Ted Thompson on Monday, who told him of the organization's intention to release him from the four-year, $19-million extension he signed in January 2011. The Packers announced the move late Monday afternoon.
It was reported last week that the Packers were looking to either restructure Bishopís deal or to release the fifth-year veteran. Because Bishop has at least four accrued seasons, he immediately becomes a street free agent.
Bishop confirmed his first visit will be with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday and said several other teams have shown interest.
A sixth-round pick in 2007, Bishop compiled 292 tackles, nine sacks and nine passes deflections in his five seasons in Green Bay. He replaced Nick Barnett as a starting middle linebacker midway through the 2010 season and held that post until going down with a season-ending torn hamstring in the Packersí first 2012 preseason game against San Diego on Aug. 9.
Bishop has remained adamant heís healthy enough to return, but the Packers appeared to ready to move forward with A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones as their starting middle linebackers after giving Jones a three-year, $11.75-million extension this offseason.
"I knew it was a possibility. Of course, I didnít want to believe it," Bishop said. "I wanted to believe there was another way around it. I even thought about when we had A.J., Nick Barnett and we also had Brandon Chillar. I thought maybe it was a possibility, but it is what it is. Reality is totally different from what you hope and expect sometimes.Ē
Bishop was scheduled to make roughly $3.4 million this season and will count roughly $800,000 against the cap in 2013 and 2014.
A catalyst in the Packers' run to the Super Bowl in 2010 and the team's leading tackler in 2011, Bishop leaves Green Bay with plenty of lasting memories.
ďItís kind of like your first love and how you never really quite get over your first love," Bishop said. "In my heart, Iíll always be a Packer. I loved it there and I appreciate the opportunity the Packers gave me. Iím forever grateful. At the same time, I understand itís a business. Iím still going to be me no matter where I go, so if somebody else wants my services, Iíll be happy to perform and whatever other color or team I play for, thatís what I represent.Ē