The Green Bay Packers have reached an injury settlement with Cletidus Hunt, agreeing to pay their former defensive tackle his full base salary of $1.25 million for 2005, after he underwent surgery last week for a torn rotator cuff sustained during training camp.
Hunt, 29, was released by the Packers in the final cutdown to the regular-season roster after six years with the franchise. Two days later, he failed a physical examination during a visit with the Cincinnati Bengals, who cited his shoulder problems.
ESPN.com reported on Sept. 9 in a "Tip Sheet" column that Hunt probably would file an injury grievance against the Packers because of the rotator cuff problems. The settlement culminated discussions between Packers officials and Hunt's agent, Jimmy Sexton.
The settlement means that the Packers must now count Hunt's $1.25 million base salary against this year's salary cap. Coupled with prorated signing bonus charges, that gives Hunt a cap charge of $3.2 million for this season. He will also count $3.6 million in so-called "dead money" against the team's 2006 salary cap.
The rotator cuff injury occurred Aug. 4 in a combined practice with the Buffalo Bills in Green Bay and sidelined Hunt for three weeks. The six-year veteran also suffered from tendinitis in both knees. Even after his release, Hunt was in demand by other teams, but when the Bengals failed him on their physical exam, it became obvious that he could not play this season.
Hunt has begun rehabilitation and plans to return to the NFL in 2006.
Sexton said the Packers were unaware of the extent of the injury because symptoms did not fully indicate a torn rotator cuff. Extensive tests that could have revealed the tear would have sidelined Hunt for two weeks.
Cutting ties to Hunt was an expensive move for the Packers organization even before it reached the injury settlement. In March 2003, Green Bay signed Hunt to a six-year, $25.3 million contract that included a $6 million signing bonus. The former Kentucky State standout, a third-round choice in the 1999 draft who showed flashes of dominance, suffered from a lack of consistency and a questionable work ethic. Hunt was often absent from the team's offseason program and this spring forfeited a $250,000 workout bonus because he failed to meet attendance levels in his contract.
In 85 games, Hunt posted 176 tackles and 17 sacks.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.