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Packers release former All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari, who posts emotional farewell on social media

FILE - Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari walks off the field after an NFL football game, Sept. 10, 2023, in Chicago. Bakhtiari's time with the Green Bay Packers is over after 11 seasons, general manager Brian Gutekunst announced Monday, March 11, 2024, that the team has released him. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, File)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former All-Pro offensive tackle David Bakhtiari's time with the Green Bay Packers is over after 11 seasons, the past three of which were severely limited by injuries.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst announced Monday the team has released Bakhtiari. Hours earlier, the 32-year-old lineman indicated in a lengthy post on X that his time with the team had come to an end.

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile, because it happened,” he wrote.

Bakhtiari had a $40 million cap hit and a base salary of $20.2 million for 2024. Releasing him would save the Packers more than $20 million under the cap.

“We want to thank David for an exceptional 11 seasons in Green Bay," Gutekunst said in a statement. “From the moment he arrived, David established himself as one of the premier tackles of his generation and one of the best linemen in the history of the Packers.

“His commitment and impact on the field and in the locker room cannot be overstated. We look forward to his inevitable induction into the Packers Hall of Fame."

Bakhtiari has played a total of 13 games since the 2021 season while dealing with an injured left knee that has required five surgeries. His only appearance last year came in a season-opening victory at Chicago.

Bakhtiari was in the midst of his second first-team All-Pro season in 2020 when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament on Dec. 31 of that year, knocking him out for the remainder of a season that ended with an NFC championship game loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He returned for Green Bay’s 2021 regular-season finale before the knee bothered him again and prevented him from playing in a playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Bakhtiari bounced back to play 11 games in the 2022 season. He was limited to one game last year.

With Bakhtiari sidelined, Rasheed Walker took over as the Packers’ left tackle, and the 2022 seventh-round pick from Penn State performed capably in his 15 starts. Green Bay reached the NFC divisional playoffs last season while having second-year pros and first-year starters at both tackle positions, with Zach Tom on the right side.

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