Mark Tauscher’s season is over.
His career might be over, as well.
Tauscher, who was brought back at midseason last year and literally saved the season when he replaced Allen Barbre, started four games this year before sustaining a shoulder injury while blocking on an extra point against Detroit. Tauscher couldn’t rehab himself back into shape, and with the emergence of first-round pick Bryan Bulaga, the Packers decided they couldn’t save the roster spot any longer.
“Despite long odds, Mark has been battling this shoulder injury in an effort to get back on the field,” general manager Ted Thompson said in a press release. “His work ethic and motivation have been tremendous but the injury has been too severe to overcome. He is a team leader and will be an important part of our team as we go through the stretch run of our season.”
The Packers filled the roster spot by re-signing tight end Spencer Havner. We reported on Tuesday that Havner would be brought back before the team resumes practice on Monday.
A seventh-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2000, Tauscher started the final 14 games as a rookie after veteran Earl Dotson sustained a back injury. Incredibly, Tauscher didn’t get flagged for holding until his 69th career start — the Week 5 game against New Orleans.
Tauscher's 2008 ended with a serious knee injury but he was brought back at midseason last year, allowing two sacks with three penalties (two false starts, one holding) in eight regular-season games. In four starts this season, Tauscher allowed two sacks and was penalized three times (two false starts, one holding).
Tauscher, who turned 33 in June, signed a two-year contract in March. This year, his salary was $1.4 million and he earned a $2.3 million roster bonus. Next year, his base salary will be $4.1 million with a roster bonus of $281,250. That might be too much, especially if Chad Clifton returns at left tackle and Bulaga stays at right tackle. Second-year player T.J. Lang also is seen as a right tackle.
Tauscher's agent, Neil Cornrich, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Havner will add some punch at tight end, where Andrew Quarless is battling a shoulder injury and Quarless, Donald Lee and Tom Crabtree have combined for 17 catches in nine games. He caught five touchdowns last season, including the playoffs. Plus, he’ll fortify the coverage units on special teams. He ranked third on the team with 20 special-teams tackles last season.
Havner was cut at the end of training camp and was signed by Detroit, where he played linebacker. He was released last month with a hamstring injury. The Packers gave Havner a physical two weeks ago and worked him out on Tuesday, with a source telling Packer Report that Havner would be re-signed before Monday's practice.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.