Gone but not forgotten; Winters will be missed

Frank Winters

Frank Winters is gone from Green Bay, taking a list of superlatives with him. At 39, the offensive lineman was the oldest member of the team as well as arguably the most well-liked among his teammates.<P> Here's what some of them had to say after the 16-year veteran was cut this week.<P>

Right guard Marco Rivera, who has played all seven of his pro seasons alongside Winters on the o-line:

"He meant a lot to all of us. He taught us a lot of things. He's been the offensive line leader for a lot of years. So, we're going to miss him."

"I wish him the best, and the Packers have to move on, but he's going to be a loss, not just on the field but in the locker room."

Right tackle Mark Tauscher:

He's a pretty wise old guy, he understands how the NFL works. I'm pretty sure he's going to be fine."

Left guard Mike Wahle:

"He was a great guy to have in the locker room, besides being a great player. You could always look to him for help, especially young players. If you had a bad play, he'd say, 'Hey, just put it in the bag.' That's one of the things that's tough to learn in this game and he was the king of that."

"He plays the game because he loves to play and the loves the guys. Frank always played football on his own terms."

Center Mike Flanagan, who replaced Winters at center in 2001, then joined him on the offensive line as a left tackle after Chad Clifton was injured:

"Frank's been a mainstay here forever. We're going to miss him and the things he's done for this organization."

Head Coach/GM Mike Sherman, who called the decision to release Winters one of the most difficult personnel decisions he's ever had to make:

"He's a Packer for life no matter what happens from here on out. Versatility, the ability to play guard and center, Ruegamer had the advantage in that area. I thought Frank played pretty well in the game the other day. ... It wasn't necessarily what he couldn't do as far as a center goes, it really had more to do with versatility and have eight guys up who could do multiple roles."

--Compiled from wire reports and interviews

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