Offensive lineman signs

With free agent-to-be Chad Clifton's future in limbo, the Green Bay Packers signed former Canadian Football League offensive tackle Steve Morley to a free agent contract on Tuesday. Morley comes to the Packers after playing for the Calgary Stampeders in 2003.<p>

The Packers reportedly signed Morley, 22, in early January after the CFL put the 6-foot-7, 336-pounder, on a list of free agents available to the National Football League. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported that the Packers also gave Morley a $150,000 signing bonus, which indicates that Green Bay feels he has a lot of potential.

Morley appeared in 11 games for the Stampeders last year, making nine starts at left tackle. He was the first overall selection in the 2003 CFL Canadian College Draft out of St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a pick acquired in a trade with Edmonton. While at St. Mary's, Morley was part of the school's four Atlantic Conference titles and three national championship game appearances. Morley was named the conference's lineman of the year in 2002.

The Packers are trying to re-sign Clifton, who will become an unrestricted free agent on March 2. If Green Bay is unable to work out a deal for him by then, it could lose him in free agency.

Four of the Packers five starting offensive linemen are under contract for next season. The Packers also have younger reserves Kevin Barry and Brennan Curtin waiting in the wings, though, both have no NFL game experience at left tackle. Veteran Marcus Spriggs, who was not activated in the final 13 regular season games and two playoff games, and moving Mark Tauscher to left tackle also are options for the Packers if they cannot re-sign Clifton.


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