Notebook: Waiting Is Hardest Part

Veteran cornerback Al Harris is ready (and has been ready) for the Packers to activate him from PUP. Plus, the latest on James Starks, Daryn Colledge and more from Thursday.

Al Harris is ready to play.

Will the Green Bay Packers let him?

The Packers have given no hints on what they'll do with Harris, Atari Bigby or James Starks, who remain on the physically unable to perform list while in their third week of practice. Coach Mike McCarthy has said he'd hold open the one vacant roster spot for one of those players, with any such move not being made before Saturday.

"I'm really in the dark. I don't know what's going on," Harris said on Thursday.

From when Harris was acquired in 2003 through 2007, he started all 16 games each season. He missed four games in 2008 with an injured spleen and the final six games of last season after a horrific injury on Nov. 22 that included, among a menagerie of problems, a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee.

Harris and the others began practicing on Oct. 20. The Packers' three-week window to make a final decision — activation to the 53-man roster, injured reserve or release — closes on Monday.

Harris felt he was ready to play that Sunday against Minnesota, but he wasn't activated to face the Vikings and he didn't get the call against the Jets, either.

The wait is weighing on Harris

"You know, I used to," Harris said of getting emotional about finally playing after such a long, grueling comeback. "But honestly, since I've gotten back here for rehab, for workouts, through training camp, that's kind of gone further and further away from my mind. Because I really don't know what's going on. So, that's really more been on my mind — what's going on. I haven't even started thinking if it'll get to me. I'm really wondering what's going on."

While Harris has been out, Tramon Williams has solidified himself as the starting cornerback opposite Charles Woodson. Harris, who said Williams has done an "excellent" job, seems resigned to the fact that when he returns, he'll have to settle for being the third cornerback.

Or, perhaps that should say "if" he returns.

"It's been an awesome, awesome ride," he said. "Will I play again? Yes. I just have to wait it out, see how it goes."

Speaking of PUP

The case of Starks is almost as intriguing as that of Harris and Bigby.

Starks, a skilled sixth-round running back, hasn't played since the 2008 season at the University of Buffalo. After missing all of his senior season with a shoulder injury and barely practicing during the Packers' offseason work and missing all of training camp because of a hamstring injury, Starks could use another eight-plus weeks of practice.

"That would be a big thing," he said. "At least I'll be able to get in tune with everything and continue doing what I'm doing right now. I just want an opportunity just to keep practicing and get better."

To get that work, the Packers could activate him before Monday. But can they afford to use a precious roster spot on a running back who hasn't taken a hit since the International Bowl on Jan. 3, 2009?

The Packers could release him and try to re-sign him to their practice squad, but they weren't the only team who liked Starks leading up to the draft. Putting him on injured reserve means he can't practice.

"I have no clue. I have no clue at all," he said about what will happen by Monday. "I only can control what I can control. Just keep practicing and hopefully I can get an opportunity."

Colledge's streak in jeopardy

Starting left guard Daryn Colledge hasn't missed a game in his career, but that 72-game streak could be in jeopardy. Colledge was held out of practice on Thursday as tests were done on his sore back. McCarthy didn't have the results when he met with reporters following practice.

If Colledge doesn't play, veteran Jason Spitz would get the start. Spitz started 41 games from 2006 through 2008 before his 2009 season ended after four starts with a back injury that required surgery. Spitz was supposed to challenge Colledge for the starting job during training camp but that battle never got started. He did play a few snaps last week, when Colledge exited with an equipment problem.

"It's hard to explain, to actually experience it, but it's definitely unique," Spitz said of being a reserve. "Like last week when Daryn's shoe came off, I'm sitting there watching the Jumbotron, the last play, see what happened, and he's in my face yelling. I mean, as the backup, you've got to be prepared at all times."

Packers injury report

Out: WR Donald Driver (quad), CB Pat Lee (ankle). Did not participate: G Daryn Colledge (back). Limited participation: S Nick Collins (knee), DE Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Clay Matthews (shin), DE Ryan Pickett (ankle), TE Andrew Quarless (shoulder), T Mark Tauscher (shoulder), CB Charles Woodson (toe). Full participation: T Chad Clifton (hamstring/knee); RB Dimitri Nance (ankle), QB Aaron Rodgers (ankle).

Pickett will test his ankle on Friday, and how he responds on Saturday will determine whether he plays against Dallas. Pickett badly wants to play, even though skipping this game and then getting the bye next week would allow two more weeks to heal.

"It's hard for me to think like that. No, I want to play," he said. "I look at it like this: I have a bye week to recover after the game on Sunday. Either way, I just really want to play."

Cowboys injury report

Did not participate: DE Jason Hatcher (groin); G Montrae Holland (groin); S Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (ankle); QB Tony Romo (shoulder). Limited participation: T Marc Colombo (back); LB Bradie James (knee); CB Terence Newman (ribs). Full participation: RB Felix Jones (ankle); G Kyle Kosier (ankle).

Four-point stance

— In part due to the frequent flags against the Packers' secondary, Greg Jennings has complained several times to the officials this year. "For a player, from my perspective, it's always good to hear what they're seeing and what they didn't see. What I can respect is when an official tells you, ‘I couldn't see that. I didn't see that.' You can't get upset by if he just didn't see it. But then you ask his other buddy and he's supposed to be watching it and he didn't see it, either. Then it's like, ‘What are we looking at?' The reality of it is they're out there to make us play within the rules and enforce the rules. They're not going to be perfect; we're not going to be perfect as players."

— If you liked last week's game, you'll love the Super Bowl. Sports Illustrated's Peter King predicts the Packers will beat the Jets 14-9 in the Super Bowl. He also placed Clay Matthews on his Midseason All-Pro Team.

— Also in the magazine, 245 players were polled on the NFL's most underrated player. Aaron Rodgers and Patriots receiver Wes Welker tied for first with 5 percent of the vote.

— The Packers' games at Minnesota on Nov. 21 and their home game against the New York Giants on Dec. 26 will remain on Fox rather than be flexed into NBC's Sunday night slot, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Fox and CBS each are allowed to prevent NBC from taking five games.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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