Hunt's back but Green's gone

When the first-team offense was called onto the Clarke Hinkle practice field Tuesday, there was a noticeable absence in the backfield.

Star running back Ahman Green, the team's single-season rushing champion, was absent. Asked about the matter after practice, a member of the Packers' media relations staff said only that reporters would be informed later. Asked if Green was injured, the representative again said reporters would be informed later.

Packers running backs coach Johnny Roland said only that Green had a prior commitment and would be back at practice Thursday.

Later in the day, a team spokesman told The Green Bay News-Chronicle that Green indeed had an unspecified commitment and his absence was not cleared with Packers coach Mike Sherman. "Coach expressed that he's disappointed that Ahman's not here," the spokesman said.

Sherman did not meet with reporters after Tuesday's practice.

Green's absence came one day after the return of Cletidus Hunt, who skipped the first three days of the minicamp for unspecified "personal" reasons.

Last week, Green was one of many players asked about Hunt's absence. At that time, Green said Hunt was letting himself down more than his teammates, an answer that at the time seemed overly kind to a critical member of the Packers defense.

This minicamp is not mandatory — the league allows only one such camp per off-season — so Sherman can not fine Green for his absence.

Center Mike Flanagan, who is out for the rest of this camp with knee tendinitis, is the team's representative with the NFL Players Association. He cut Green slack for missing practice.

"Let these guys worry about it. This is between ‘Sherm' and Ahman," Flanagan said. "I don't worry about Ahman; he's going to be ready to play on Sundays. It's just another thing to talk about, I guess."

Also missing practice was wide receiver Carl Ford. Ford aggravated an injury to his right hamstring during Monday's workout. At the time, Ford was confident he'd be able to return, but instead the team is playing it safe so he's ready for training camp late next month.

Linebacker Torrance Marshall and tight end David Martin, who missed Monday's practice due to knee maladies, returned Tuesday. Martin looked fine during drills but showed a noticeable limp while walking. Marshall was back at linebacker and also took part in one-on-one pass-rushing drills while lining up at a defensive end position.

Joining Flanagan on the sideline were offensive lineman Kevin Barry (hamstring) and receivers Devin Lewis (knee) and Sam Breeden (hamstring).

Two members of the defensive line missed practice, as well. One of them, nose tackle Grady Jackson, is taking this camp off due to knee tendinitis and off-season arthroscopic knee surgery. The other was third-round draft pick Donnell Washington. He's not injured though; his wife delivered their first child.

Practice is scheduled for 11 a.m. today. In years past, Sherman planned a surprise outing, such as bowling, to break up the minicamp and build camaraderie. There was a feeling that outing would be held Wednesday.

The Packers, however, held a barbecue lunch in Lambeau Field after Tuesday's practice. If that represents this year's fun outing, then minicamp will end Thursday. Teams are allowed just four practices per week during minicamp. The camp was due to end Friday.

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