Both former Packers offensive linemen were released by their respective teams this week. Timmerman, who just completed his 12th NFL season, was set free by the Rams for salary cap reasons. Verba, the Packers' first round (30th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft, was cut by the Lions after one season.
In each case, their respective releases were no surprise, but for different reasons. Timmerman, who turns 36 on Aug. 14, is simply too old by NFL standards for the money he was scheduled to be paid ($3.5 million against the 2007 salary cap). Verba signed a long-term deal with the Lions in June of 2006. He received $4 million in salary and signing bonus, but the contract gave the Lions the option to extend the deal four years, including a $2.5 million bonus this spring, which they obviously declined.
Now we know why the Lions struggle from year to year. Verba's signing proved to be another boneheaded move by Detroit general manager Matt Millen.
Many thought Verba's career came to an end when he was out of football in 2005. Last season lasted seven games (all starts) for the Lions and was inactive for eight games with hamstring and groin injuries.
Besides his inability to stay healthy, Verba's off-field antics have hurt him more than anything. After leaving Green Bay for Cleveland as a free agent in 2001, he became an embarrassment to the Browns organization by the way he conducted himself off the field. Verba, 33, often made the news for bawdy parties that occurred at his home rather than his play on the field. He eventually bought himself out of indentured servitude to the Browns by ponying up $465,000 to repay his roster bonus in the off-season of 2005 so he could become a free agent.
No other NFL teams were willing to pay Verba what he thought he was worth and he sat out of football.
From the time he arrived in Cleveland till now, Verba became quite the different person than the Christian missionary that he proclaimed to be. When he came to the Packers, he had a confident cockiness about him, but never got into any trouble, at least publicly, off the field.
From his time in Cleveland to Detroit, he became linked to the bawdy parties, which eventually led to a divorce from his wife in 2003, and an alleged rape at his home in January of 2005. He has spent a lot of time gambling in Las Vegas, according to reports, and in early January he was arrested on a felony warrant for writing bad checks in Nevada.
Even if Verba has the ability to help the Packers, he hardly fits the "Packer People" type of character that Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson want on the team.
Verba has some problems to iron out, and they're not related to football. His only chance at playing in the NFL is with the Oakland Raiders, where most bad boys seem to end up.
Timmerman is a breath of fresh air compared to Verba. The former Packers guard, who started on Green Bay's Super Bowl teams in the mid-1990s, is as apple pie and American as you can get. He gets along with anybody, and probably still has some gas in his tank. But the Packers have young, up-and-coming interior linemen with no need for a veteran in the twilight of his career.
Verba and Timmerman are both well past the prime of their football careers, and the Packers are best off without them.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com.