We've had the Super Bowl, the NFL Combine, Pro Days, the Draft, rookie orientations, weight training and conditioning workouts, organized team activities and mini-camps. No wonder the NFL off-season has gone from six months to six weeks. Spare a couple more team workouts and one week of review for rookies and the Green Bay Packers off-season will begin. Fans and the media got their last peek at the team today, practicing on Clarke Hinkle Field for just under two hours. After the session, Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he's pleased with how the off-season program has gone, "clearly" ahead of where they were last year. The integration of the rookies has been smooth and there's an edge to the team that he noticed when the off-season program got rolling in April. He hopes it carries over to training camp. Reporting date at St. Norbert College is only 44 days away. Some off-season.
As surprising as it was to see DuJuan Haris on the field and in uniform (but only observing), the same can be said for not seeing Sam Shields around. Harris had a cyst removed from his right lung a week ago, letting everyone know about the operation via twitter. He's expected to be ready for camp. Shields arrived at last week's mandatory mini camp after settling for the restricted free agent tender offer of just over two million dollars for this season while hoping he would get a long term deal. The OTA's are voluntary and I thought Sam was making a big mistake by not coming in, but McCarthy said he was excused to take of a personal matter.
The Pack signed another free agent wide receiver today, they need the bodies. Terrell Sinkfield is out of Northern Iowa and spent the month of May with the Miami Dolphins. The undrafted rookie caught 43 passes with four touchdowns as a Panther senior. Last week, the Packers signed Sederrik Cunningham and two weeks ago it was Alex Gillett. Both of this year's draft choices, Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey were hurt almost the entire time and Jarrett Boykin was down today. Gillett caught a nice TD from Graham Harrell during a two minute drill, not as pretty as the long TD in the same drill from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb.
Rodgers says he's ready for a break. He'll head to Southern California to continue training and getting his golf swing in shape. The celebrity tournament in Reno/Tahoe is one of the highlights of the summer for Rodgers.
A lot of players were asked about the birthday of Vince Lombardi. He would have turned 100 today. Aaron said it's hard to escape the influence of the coach, for his work address is on the street bearing Vince's name, there's the statue out front and photos throughout the building.
Before the week is out, watch for posts sizing up the depth chart with training camp calling faster than you think.