Packers likely moving on from Mike Neal

Stu Courtney
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GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers seemed to slam the door on a possible return by free-agent outside linebacker Mike Neal when they selected two linebackers in the draft this weekend.

Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf alluded to it Saturday when discussing the additions made to the defense in the draft. The Packers chose outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell of Utah State in the third round and followed that up by taking inside linebacker Blake Martinez of Stanford in the fourth round.

That in addition to fortifying the defensive line with first-round pick Kenny Clark of UCLA and fourth-round selection Dean Lowry of Northwestern.

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Asked what those moves provided, Wolf replied, “I think depth. Getting Clark, obviously we expect him to contribute. And then Fackrell, Martinez and Lowry on the defensive side as well. Those guys will be in position to battle and compete for snaps.”

Wolf brought up Neal’s name when asked if adding size to the defense was a priority.

“I think it a priority,” Wolf said. “Obviously with B.J. (Raji) retiring, we lost some guys up front, and Mike Neal's moved on so it just looks like something that we addressed as need, and we've been able to fill it so far. Couple more picks to go.”

But general manager Ted Thompson declined to confirm whether Neal has “moved on” in the Packers’ eyes when asked later Saturday about Wolf’s remark.

"I wouldn't characterize it like that,” Thompson said. “There's a lot of different things that can happen during the course of an offseason that would change things. So I wouldn't be strong enough to say that."

Neal reportedly visited with Detroit and Seattle early in free agency but remains on the market.

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