The Green Bay Packers tenure for outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus did not last long. The 31-year-old former first rounder announced his retirement from football last week.
“I decided I’m hanging up the cleats and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” Mercilus said via Instagram post.
When the Packers signed Mercilus in late October, it was seen as a low risk, high reward play. While the former Texan was coming off an injury plagued 2020 season, the track record was certainly an impressive one. Mercilus had finished his Houston Texan career second in franchise history for sacks (57.0), and first in all-time postseason sacks (7.0).
Drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, Mercilus quickly became one of the more feared pass-rushers in the league. The highlight season for the 6’5″ outside linebacker, came in 2015 when he recorded 12.0 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and 16 QB hits.
The production did not translate to his time in green and gold. The Illinois product appeared in just four regular season games for the Packers in 2021. A torn biceps on November 14th derailed the progress he had been making in his return. Mercilus did make an appearance in the post season loss to San Francisco.
While it’s easy to write Whitney Mercilus off as a footnote in Packers history, the once feared pass-rusher spoke glowingly to what it meant to him to wear the G. “Playing for [the Green Bay Packers] in the historic Lambeau Field will be something that I will never forget. The spark I felt the moment I stepped foot onto Green Bay will be with me forever.”
The potential and excitement were high at the time Mercilus joined the Packers. Many compared the signing initially to another pass-rusher in the twilight of their career, Julius Peppers. Both situations saw a highly talented linebacker coming over to a late career push for a championship ring. While Peppers tenure in Green Bay was far more successful, they both sadly ended the same way. Ringless.
Zach has been a lifelong Packers fan since his earliest memories of Brett Favre\\\'s Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXXII. A proud shareholder of the team, he bleeds Green and Gold despite being born and raised in New Jersey. You can follow him on twitter at @RapMasterZach.