The Green Bay Packers Tuesday released nose tackle Gilbert Brown, a stalwart in the middle of the defensive line for 10 of the past 11 years, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced.
"Gilbert Brown has contributed significantly to the Green Bay Packers for 10 seasons, both on and off the field," Sherman said. "The connection Gilbert had with his teammates and coaches is special, as well as his connection to the fans. Always the last one to leave the locker room after a practice or a game, he savored every minute he was a Green Bay Packer football player. He will be missed by everyone: coaches, players and fans alike. As a coach, I am very proud to say he was on a team I coached. I will miss him."
Brown, 33, started 14 of 16 games in 2003 at nose tackle. A huge inspiration to his teammates, he decided to play through a preseason injury, a ruptured right biceps, which would have dictated season-ending surgery for most players. He recorded 14 total tackles, one fumble recovery (the first of his career) and one pass defensed. In a rematch victory over Chicago (Dec. 7), Brown posted a season-high four stops, along with a pass breakup.
Brown's teammates voted him as one of six playoff captains and gave him the 'Ed Block Courage Award' for displaying a "commitment to the principles of courage and sportsmanship," best demonstrated by his decision to play on in 2003 in spite of a torn biceps.
The 6-foot-2, 340-pound Brown is one of four true defensive linemen to play 10 seasons for the Packers. Only Dave Hanner (13, 1952-64), Henry Jordan (11, 1659-69) and Ezra Johnson (11, 1977-87) have played longer in a Green Bay uniform. Obtained on waivers from Minnesota during 1993 training camp, Brown has played 125 Packers games (103 starts) with 292 tackles (186 solo) and seven sacks.
Out of football during the 2000 season, he returned to reclaim his starting role in 2001 and held it the past three years.
Nicknamed "The Gravedigger," in honor of his celebratory dance following a thunderous tackle, Brown has played in 15 Packers playoff games. In franchise history, only Brett Favre (19) has more. Brown was a major contributor on strong defenses during the mid 1990s. His best season was 1996, when Green Bay won Super Bowl XXXI.
ALSO TUESDAY, the Packers announced they have waived cornerback Calvin Carlyle. Signed to a practice-squad contract Dec. 9, the rookie spent the season's last six weeks in Green Bay, then re-signed Jan. 13 as a reserve/future. Originally signed by Indianapolis out of Oregon State as an undrafted free agent May 2, 2003, the 5-11, 191-pound Carlyle spent training camp and most of the preseason with the Colts, before they waived him Aug. 26.