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Packers re-sign OLB/DE Mike Neal

Mar. 12, 2014
 
An NFL source confirmed that Neal has signed a two-year contract with the Packers. File/Press-Gazette Media
An NFL source confirmed that Neal has signed a two-year contract with the Packers. File/Press-Gazette Media

The Packers havenít signed anyone elseís free agents a little more than a day into the signing period but today retained their second free agent of the week in Mike Neal.

An NFL source confirmed that Neal has signed a two-year contract with the Packers. Other terms were not available. Neal also had drawn serious interest from the Arizona Cardinals.

Coach Mike McCarthy signaled the Packersí interest in re-signing Neal at the NFL scouting combine in February when he talked about better exploiting the versatility of players such as Neal on defense. Neal, a second-round draft pick in 2010, started his career as a defensive lineman but moved to outside linebacker last season and played there almost exclusively.

The Packers likely will use him as both a standup outside linebacker and inside pass rusher. Neal started 10 of 16 games last season at left outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews.

Nealís injury history likely played a role in him signing only a two-year deal, though to be fair most contracts signed by veterans are in effect one- or two-year contracts regardless of how long they might be on paper.

Neal, 26, played all 16 games last season for the first time in his career. Heíd missed 24 of 48 games his first three years because of shoulder, knee and abdominal injuries, plus another four in 2012 because of a suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Last Saturday, after the early free agent negotiating period had begun but before players could sign with other teams, the Packers re-signed cornerback Sam Shields to a four-year deal worth $39 million.

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