‘Odd man out:’ LB Desmond Bishop released by Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Desmond Bishop understands why the Green Bay Packers decided
to release him Monday afternoon. 

As Bishop worked his way back from a torn hamstring that
sidelined him for the entire 2012 season, the 28-year-old inside linebacker “kind
of saw the writing on the wall.” Though Bishop hoped he was wrong, the
Packers parted ways with their leading tackler from the 2011 season. 

“I think it was just a result of a few factors,”
Bishop told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. “From a business standpoint, as the
Packers organization, I could see the logic (in being released). It was a
business move. I’m kind of the odd man out this time.” 

In Bishop’s absence last season, Brad Jones got a chance to
step into the starting lineup in Green Bay’s defense and performed well. So
well, in fact, that the Packers signed Jones to a three-year, $11.75 million
deal in March. Green Bay also restructured the contract of 16-game starter A.J.
Hawk to a reduced amount this offseason, leaving Bishop a bit vulnerable. 

“Just looking at it from my perspective, why would you
pay three guys a significant amount of money when only two can play,”
Bishop said. “Why do that? They (Jones and Hawk) both had a good year.
That’s my logic with it.” 

Bishop was scheduled to earn $3.46 million in 2013 and $3.52
in 2014 as part of the four-year deal he signed in 2011. The Packers never
discussed a contract restructuring with Bishop, instead opting to just release
him. 

While the Packers will only have $800,000 of that count
against their 2014 cap space, Bishop is now an unrestricted free agent and can
sign with any team. 

Bishop’s first stop will be Tuesday with the Minnesota
Vikings. 

“In my heart, I think I’ll always be a Packer, even if
I never play for the Packers again,” Bishop said. “Right now, it’s a
little difficult, it’s a little weird thinking about dressing up in a different
uniform. But, it is what it is.” 

Bishop wants to make it perfectly clear to the Vikings and
the number of other teams that he said have already shown interest in signing
him: He is healthy and completely recovered from the hamstring tear that he
suffered in August 2012. Bishop did sit out during Green Bay’s offseason
training activities and minicamp practices, but that was not related to his
previous injury. 

“I think it’s a big misconception going around about
the reason I didn’t participate, but it wasn’t about my surgery,” Bishop
said. “That’s 100 percent healed. That was my tendon. That’s healed. But
what happened was I strained my hamstring; a slight strain on the inside. That
is what held me out. That’s a couple-week injury with treatment. Getting that
strong, that’s not even a factor anymore. It’s been several weeks where I’ve
been running and working. 

“If training camp was tomorrow, I’d be a full
participant.” 

Bishop does believe that his injury played into why the
Packers essentially chose Jones over him. 

“If you have a player coming off injury and a player
who just had a decent year, who do you let go?,” Bishop said. “You’ve
got the sure thing versus the thing you have to put some faith in. They went
with Brad, and that’s understandable. I don’t think it was the biggest factor,
but injury had a part in it.” 

Bishop’s name was in trade rumors during the NFL Draft, but
general manager Ted Thompson was unable to find a team to make a deal with over
the past eight weeks. 

Even though the Packers released Bishop now, he wouldn’t
rule out a possible return to Green Bay before the 2013 season begins. However,
that wouldn’t be his preference. 

“It’s definitely a possibility,” Bishop said. “Honestly,
if there’s a chance to remain a Packer, I would definitely want to. But, if it
came to that, I don’t think I would be the happiest person because the only way
I can come back and sit at the table with the Packers is if nobody else is
willing to compensate me. 

“If that’s the case, I probably would go back with the
Packers because there’s a lot of familiarity with everything from management to
coaches to players to the community. I think that would be the best fit (under
that scenario). 

“But at this point, you don’t want it to come to that.
Hopefully somebody can compensate me and put me in the right situation. If not,
I understand it’s part of the business and part of the job.” 

Bishop, a sixth-round pick by Green Bay in 2007, accumulated
292 tackles, nine sacks, nine passes defensed, one interception and eight
forced fumbles during his six years with the Packers. 

As is the case with many injured NFL players, Bishop’s hamstring tear in Week 1 of the 2012 preseason ended up
being his last play in a Packers uniform. 

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if I wouldn’t
have gotten injured,” Bishop said.

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