Former All-Pro Gildon visits Green Bay

As had been reported, former Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro Jason Gildon visited Green Bay on Friday, watching part of practice alongside the team's director of pro personnel, Reggie McKenzie.

Neither the soon-to-be 32-year-old Gildon nor McKenzie were available to discuss the visit after Friday's practice. Packers vice president of football operations Mark Hatley said simply: "He's had a lot of sacks over the years, so we know he has some pass-rushing ability."

Andrew Brandt, vice president of player finance, said: "We haven't entered in any negotiations with him. It's just a visit right now."

The Packers' interest in Gildon stems from their need for an outside pass rusher to complement Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Packers coach Mike Sherman's only alternative on the roster is to hope Jamal Reynolds finally flashes the skills that caused the Packers to select him in the first round in 2001.

Hope for Reynolds to step up, however, seems remote. After a solid postdraft minicamp in which he more than held his own in pass-rushing drills, Reynolds came out on the short end of most battles Friday. During 11-on-11 drills, Reynolds was manhandled by unheralded rookie right tackle Jason Hilliard.

Gildon was released by Pittsburgh on June 1 in a cost-cutting measure by the Steelers. However, Gildon's productivity has slipped since being named to the All-Pro team in 2001. He recorded six sacks last season. His backup, Clark Haggans, tallied 6.5 sacks.

"Jason has been a very productive player and team leader for us the past 10 years," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said in a statement upon Gildon's release. "Unfortunately, in this system, some very difficult decisions have to be made."

Other teams interested in Gildon include Washington, Houston and the Steelers' AFC North rivals in Baltimore and Cleveland.

A third-round pick in 1994, Gildon ranks as Pittsburgh's all-time leading sacker with 77. He tallied 13.5 sacks in 2000 and 12 in 2001 — both Pro Bowl seasons — before slipping to nine in 2002 and six last season.

"It's part of the business, and I understand that," Gildon said recently. "But it's kind of disappointing because of how long I've been here."

Gildon signed a five-year, $23 million contract in 2002 that included a $6.5 million signing bonus. At the time, Cowher praised Gildon's work ethic and attitude.

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