McKenzie wants out

Cornerback Mike McKenzie reportedly is looking for a ticket out of Green Bay, where he's been a starter since the Packers drafted him in the third round in 1999.<p>

McKenzie's agent, Brian Parker, told the Associated Press that on Wednesday he requested permission to seek a trade and the Packers denied the request.

Packer GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said he wanted to talk with McKenzie before commenting.

The reason for the sour turn in the relationship between the defensive mainstay and the team is debatable.

One factor could be McKenzie's outspoken comments about the Packers' defensive scheme in their NFC Divisional Playoff loss to the Eagles. McKenzie said the Packers should have been more aggressive in the heartbreaking loss, in which they gave up the now-infamous 4th and 26 play. McKenzie said at the time that he would have trouble getting over the loss.

Another reason could be the rearranging of the defensive staff. Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell was fired after the playoff loss, and secondary coach Bob Slowik was moved into the DC spot.

Since then McKenzie has not returned to Green Bay for offseason workouts, even though he has bonus clauses in his contract prompting him to do so.

Money may be -- and usually is -- the issue. McKenzie signed a five-year, $17.1 million deal in January 2002 with $3.5 million in signing bonuses. His base salary next season is $2.75 million, rising to $4 million for 2006.

McKenzie has started at left corner for the Packers since they drafted him in the third round (87th overall) out of Memphis. He has 15 career career interceptions, including four last season which was his best total since a memorable half-dozen as a rookie.

Despite a toe injury that kept him out of the final two regular season games, McKenzie had a strong performance in the playoffs with eight passes defensed, two forced fumbles, a sack and 11 tackles.

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