Hunt absent again

Cletidus Hunt made it 2-for-2 on Thursday. Two minicamp practices complete. Two minicamp practices skipped.<p>

After being absent from Wednesday's practice, a terse Packers coach Mike Sherman sounded confident Hunt would be at Thursday's practice. But there was no No. 97 on the Don Hutson Center practice field, and no members of the Packers' coaching staff or front office seemed eager to discuss the defensive tackle's whereabouts.

A fuming Sherman did not make himself available to the media after practice, saying only "Don't even ask me about it. Don't even ask." Defensive coordinator Bob Slowik said he knew nothing about the Hunt situation but was happy to coach the players who were in attendance. Reggie McKenzie, the team's director of pro personnel, answered the media's questions after practice Thursday but shed no light on the subject.

During his chat with reporters in the Lambeau Field media auditorium, Packers quarterback Brett Favre added his two cents' worth.

"He's been to every camp for four, five years, something like that," Favre said. "He's progressively gotten better. Just thinking back to last minicamp, he's become more of a, I don't want to say a vocal leader, but just his actions and stuff (have shown maturity). Now obviously, this, I don't want to say sets him back, but these young guys don't know the difference, really. Not knowing why Cletidus isn't here, whether it's a good excuse or not a good excuse (can't help the team)."

Favre, however, said a two-day absence isn't the end of the world and everything will be fine if he reports to camp soon.

"I trust he'll be fine and we'll be as good as ever," Favre said.

A team source told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Hunt, who signed a six-year, $25 million contract last year, was absent Wednesday because he missed his flight from Kentucky. That reason seems dubious now that Hunt was missing Thursday as well.

Other sources, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Journal Sentinel and Green Bay News-Chronicle they expected Hunt to arrive on Monday. One player said "some family problems or something like that." Another said, "I heard he's coming in Monday. That's the word around here." One player, however, said Hunt planned on skipping the camp because it wasn't mandatory.

Hunt was suspended for the first games of the 2001 season for breaking the league's substance-abuse policy. There is no evidence, however, Hunt was participating in any activities that break league rules.

The team will practice from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday. If Sherman takes the players outside to the Clarke Hinkle Field, practice will be open to the public.

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