The locker Derek Sherrod once occupied the offensive line wing of the Green Bay Packers' locker room remains empty days after the organization parted ways with the former first-round pick.
Although things didn't work out – Sherrod played just 20 games with one start in three-plus seasons – the Packers' coaching staff will remember the 6-foot-6, 321-pound tackle for what he invested into trying to resurrect his football career after breaking his leg in two places near the end of his rookie season.
It appeared the Packers had drafted 10-year tackles for quarterback Aaron Rodgers after selecting Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga in the first round in 2010 and the nabbing Sherrod with the 32nd pick in 2011, but injury prevented Sherrod's career from ever getting off the ground.
"That was a tough one on everybody on a personal level (and) a number of different fronts," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "To watch what he went through, that was a big-time injury. It was probably one of the worst ones I've stood over. He did everything he could. It was not an easy decision, but it was a decision we felt we needed to make."
The broken fibula and tibia Sherrod suffered against Kansas City in December 2011 required two separate surgeries and kept him off the field more nearly two years. The former Mississippi State standout had shown some improvement in this year's camp, but never really challenged for a starting role.
After struggling in place of an injured Bulaga at the start of the season, Packers general manager Ted Thompson decided he'd seen enough. The Packers released Sherrod on Monday in need of a roster spot with utility lineman JC Tretter eligible for activation from short-term injured reserve.
Sherrod is free to sign with any NFL team after clearing waivers, if he so chooses. Although he didn't live up to the expectations of a first-round pick with a $3.3 million signing bonus, many on the staff and in locker room still hold him in high regard.
"That kid persevered through a bad injury and as far as I'm concerned, I don't care where that kid goes, he's a Packer," Packers offensive line coach James Campen said. "He gave everything he could, and I love the kid."
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