Former Packers starter ends retirement talk by signing deal with division rival

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur with general manager Brian Gutekunst
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur with general manager Brian Gutekunst / Mark Hoffman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Former Green Bay Packers starters becoming division rivals is nothing new.

The Minnesota Vikings have made a habit of signing former Packers and having them play important roles. This season, Aaron Jones and Robert Tonyan will be part of Minnesota's offense and play against Green Bay twice.

Over the years, NFC North rivals have wanted to add any piece from the Packers' offense they possibly can, whether it's Greg Jennings, Brett Favre, or Josh Sitton. In recent years, Jamaal Williams, Jones, Tonyan, and even Jimmy Graham have immediately signed with an NFC North rival after leaving Green Bay.

Another former Packers tight end jumped ship to a division rival last offseason, and he's surprisingly back for another year.

Former Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis returns for 19th season by re-signing with Bears

Marcedes Lewis was an unsung hero during his time in the Packers' offense. While he rarely contributed as a receiver, his work as a run-blocker was among the best on the team and made him a valuable starter. Getting Lewis on the field was like having an additional offensive lineman who could also catch passes.

Lewis had to settle for a backup role last season with the Chicago Bears, but he's back for another year after opting not to retire.

On Monday, the Bears announced that they had re-signed Lewis.

The former first-round pick turned 40 last month and is incredibly entering his 19th season in the league. Lewis spent 12 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, five in Green Bay, and is now returning to Chicago for year two.

It's a low-risk, smart move by the Bears. They add a talented blocker who can provide depth and play a backup role, while Lewis gets to rejoin an ascending offense.

The Packers moved on at tight end last offseason, parting ways with Lewis and Tonyan in favor of draft picks Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. Both players showed star potential as rookies.

Many believed Lewis would retire at the end of last season, but the 40-year-old remains a Packers division rival for at least one more year.

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