Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/13/12
GREEN BAY, Wis. The latest setback in the development of oft-injured Packers defensive end Mike Neal is a big one. The NFL has suspended the 6-foot-3, 294-pound Neal for the first four games of the 2012 regular season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. However, Neal is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. Contacted by FOXSportsWisconsin.com Tuesday, Neal declined to comment. Neal, Green Bay's second-round pick in 2010, has played in only nine games in his two-year career and recorded just six total tackles. As a rookie, a right shoulder injury forced him to injured reserve after two games. But Neal's mix of athleticism and strong frame led the Packers to allow Cullen Jenkins to walk in free agency last year. The idea for general manager Ted Thompson was that Neal who is seven years younger and much cheaper than Jenkins could step into the defensive end spot without Green Bay's defense taking a step back. That didn't work out nearly as planned for the Packers when Neal injured his left knee in training camp and damaged cartilage in the process. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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