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Packers LT Clifton signs three-year deal; Giordano, Montgomery cut

The Green Bay Packers re-signed veteran left tackle Chad Clifton on Saturday, wrapping up one of their major offseason concerns early in the NFL's free-agent signing period.

Clifton will return to the left tackle spot that he has occupied for most of his 10 seasons in Green Bay. The Packers don't have an obvious candidate to replace Clifton, and reported interest in the unrestricted free agent from the Washington Redskins made for some nervous moments among Packers fans.

Clifton said he always wanted to stay in Green Bay.

"This team has so much talent from top to bottom, a ton of young talent on both sides of the ball," Clifton said in a statement released by the team. "That's undeniable, and it would be foolish not to want to be a part of that. I think we'll have a really good team this coming season.

"Nothing's going to be easy, and I believe our division will be really tough. But this team has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, and we just have to put that together and see how we do."

Terms of Clifton's deal weren't disclosed, but NFL Network's Michael Lombardi reported Friday night that it was for three years and $20 million.

"We are happy to be able to have Chad as a member of the Packers," Packers general manager Ted Thompson said in the team-issued statement. "He has been a valuable teammate and contributor to our team. We look forward to him continuing to work to help us build and prepare for a successful 2010 season."

Losing Clifton would have been a tough blow for the Packers, who had significant issues on their offensive line last season, even with him in his usual spot. Green Bay gave up a league-worst 51 sacks last season, although its pass protection did improve after the midseason signing of veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher.

Tauscher also is an unrestricted free agent, and his future with the Packers is unclear.

Clifton's continued presence also will be critical for the Packers after two standout pass rushers joined NFC North rivals as free agents Friday. Julius Peppers will play for the Chicago Bears next season, and Kyle Vanden Bosch is joining the Detroit Lions.

Originally picked by Green Bay in the second round of the 2000 draft, Clifton has appeared in 143 regular-season games with 138 starts at left tackle. He has missed just six games over the last seven years since returning from a significant pelvic injury that ended his 2002 season.

Clifton went to the Pro Bowl after the 2007 season and has been selected as an alternate three times, including last season.

In other moves, the Packers released safety Matt Giordano and defensive end Michael Montgomery on Friday.

Giordano, who was cut by the Indianapolis Colts last September after four seasons with the team, was signed by the Packers a few weeks later to provide depth in the wake of injuries. He appeared in five games.

Montgomery, a sixth-round selection in the 2005 draft, appeared in 56 games over the course of five seasons with Green Bay. He started eight games in 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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