GREEN BAY – When Quinton Dial signed with the Green Bay Packers this week, he didn’t have to look far for a familiar face.
A couple lockers down was Ahmad Brooks, a former teammate with the San Francisco 49ers. But Brooks wasn’t the only player Dial recognized.
Across the locker room, he found Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
The two go further back than Dial and Brooks, members of the same vaunted 2011 Alabama recruiting class. The 49ers drafted Dial with a fifth-round pick in 2013. Clinton-Dix was drafted in the first round one year later.
Clinton-Dix said he has tracked his former college teammate’s career ever since. When the 49ers released Dial last weekend, Clinton-Dix said, he couldn’t believe it.
“That was a total shock to me,” Clinton-Dix said. “A guy that I’ve been watching since he got in the league, I didn’t see that coming at all. That was a shock. When they told me they were bringing him in here, I’m like, ‘Damn, he got cut?’ That was definitely eye-opening. We got a steal.”
Dial said Clinton-Dix helped recruit him to the Packers. They discussed defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ scheme, and also the locker room culture. The duo was lured to Alabama by college football’s best recruiter, coach Nick Saban.
Maybe some of Saban’s effectiveness rubbed off.
“He did pretty good,” Dial said of Clinton-Dix’s recruiting. “I’m here.”
At Alabama, Clinton-Dix and Dial helped form one of the nation’s top defenses. They won a championship together in 2012, beating LSU 21-0. Dial said he hopes to recreate the same title-winning experience with Clinton-Dix in the NFL.
Clinton-Dix believes signing Dial gave the Packers a better chance.
“He’s been a guy that I’ve always looked up to,” Clinton-Dix said. “A guy that’s set great examples on the field, off the field. he’s going to be a great attribute on this team.”
Injury update: The Packers plan to give right tackle Bryan Bulaga the entire week before deciding his availability for Sunday.
Bulaga was officially labeled as questionable on the injury report Friday, two days after he returned to practice after missing the last two weeks with a sprained ankle. He spent the early portions of practice Thursday inside the Don Hutson Center, but was expected to be in pads.
“Bryan did a little bit less (Thursday) than he did on Wednesday,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Just kind of as we planned all week, we’ll take the whole week and give him a chance to get ready.”
Bulaga is the Packers’ most significant injury. If he’s available, the Packers will have all five offensive line starters.
Rookie defensive lineman Montravius Adams practiced in pads Thursday for the first time since being drafted. Adams went through the early portion of individual drills, but was held out the rest of the way. He missed all of training camp with a broken foot and will be unavailable the next few weeks.
Adams was officially ruled out on the Friday injury report.
“He’s limited,” McCarthy said. “He went through the early portion of drill work, and that’s about all the exposure that I’ve had.”
With no setbacks in the 48 hours until kickoff, Adams might be the only player unavailable against the Seahawks. McCarthy said the 46-man roster decisions he’ll make Sunday might be his most difficult all season.
For coaches, that’s a good problem to have.
“The 46 is always a challenge at this time of year,” McCarthy said. “Any time you’re putting out healthy players, it’s a challenge.”
Cashing out: The Packers reached an injury settlement with fullback Joe Kerridge, according to the transaction wire. Kerridge had suffered a calf injury late in camp and was placed on injured reserve over the weekend.
Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed