Sherman steamed at AWOL Hunt

Packers coach Mike Sherman was mad. Not quite as mad as he was in the moments following the Tampa Bay game in which Chad Clifton was leveled by Warren Sapp. But mad nonetheless.

The subject of Sherman's ire was standout defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt, who was a no-show as minicamp opened Wednesday. The camp isn't mandatory — the league allows only one mandatory minicamp per off-season, and the Packers held theirs in late April — so Hunt will not be fined by the team. But not everything is fine by Sherman.

"It's not a mandatory camp, but it's a mandatory commitment to what we're trying to get done here," an obviously irritated Sherman said after Wednesday's practice. "I expect (all players are) going to be here when we have a minicamp."

Asked if he expected Hunt to be on the practice field Thursday, Sherman said: "Yes. He should have been here today."

Where Hunt spent his Wednesday is a mystery. Asked that very question, Sherman tersely said: "You can ask Cletidus that when he gets here. Ask him."

Queried again moments later about Hunt's whereabouts, Sherman snapped: "I just said what I wanted to say about that. I expect everyone to be here."

While the anger did not permeate the locker room, the irritation certainly did.

"Where's Cletidus? That's the million-dollar question around here," nose tackle Grady Jackson said.

Linebacker Na'il Diggs echoed Sherman's sentiments.

"It's not mandatory, but it's mandatory, you know? It's one of those unspoken rules," Diggs said. "You don't have to go but you go because you want to be in shape and you want to get the feel of a new defense and new players."

Given Hunt violated the league's substance-abuse policy and was suspended for the first four games in 2001, Hunt's absence caused more than just token worry.

"There's a little bit of awkwardness around this locker room," Diggs said. "Nobody really knows the whole story about Cletidus. He might be out for a very good reason. He may not be."

A team source told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Hunt simply missed his flight.

Regardless, Diggs was disappointed in Hunt, who signed a six-year, $25 million contract last year.

"Everybody here is responsible for himself," Diggs said. "I'm not going to call Cletidus and (ask) why are you not here? He's a grown man and he makes decisions."

Two other Packers missed practice due to injury.

Backup right tackle Kevin Barry was forced to watch after straining a hamstring strain during an opportunity session a couple weeks ago.

"Usually offensive linemen don't have hamstring strains that affect their play, but this one is a big hamstring and it's affecting his play right now," Sherman said. "Hopefully we'll get him back this week."

"It's getting better," Barry said. "I can get back out here whenever it feels good. I'd rather have it happen now than in August."

Jackson sat out due to swelling and arthritis in his left knee. Jackson had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February.

"It's nothing that's going to hurt him during the season," Sherman said. "He's just resting some old knees. He'll do a little bit, probably about what he did last minicamp but not much more than that."

"I'm doing pretty good. Just getting my knee right and trying to get ready for the long haul. I'm just trying to prepare myself for a long season," Jackson said, adding: "I could be out there (if this were the regular season), but it's something they don't want to rush so you've just got to take it easy."

Packer Report Top Stories