Sherman wants McKenzie back

Packers director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie started the recent minicamp and Packers coach/general manager Mike Sherman ended it with the same message.

You're welcome back, Mike.

While Mike McKenzie seemingly hasn't budged from his demand to be traded, the Packers have been equally firm in their hopes their standout cornerback is wearing green and gold on opening day.

Asked during the final day of minicamp if McKenzie was welcome back after all that has been done and said, Sherman emphatically said yes.

"Mike McKenzie hasn't murdered anyone as far as I know," Sherman said. "He's played good football here. Never late for a meeting and he's made a lot of great plays for us. It's unfortunate when we get into these situations, people say things to different parties that aren't always communicated directly so things get skewed a little bit.

"But my hope is Mike comes back. That's my hope. He's under contract with the Packers and that's my goal to get him back into camp. He's done a fine job for me. I haven't had a problem with Mike previous to his noncommitment to these minicamps, and I'm hopeful things get resolved.

"When money is a factor, things change. Things get distorted some times."

At the start of minicamp, Reggie McKenzie said his "gut" feeling was Mike McKenzie would play for the Packers this season.

"My gut says Mike will be here, we're going to play ball and we'll live happily ever after," Reggie McKenzie said. "That's what I feel. I could be wrong, but my gut says No. 34 will be on the field for us this year."

And quarterback Brett Favre, while the most vocal critic of McKenzie, has said the team and fans would accept McKeznie back, just as the team welcomed back Antonio Freeman. Freeman was suspended for the 2000 regular-season finale for missing a team practice and subsequently bad-mouthing the organization upon his release.

McKenzie has three years and more than $11 million left on the five-year, $17.1 million contract he signed in 2002. Unhappy when what he felt were lesser players were awarded big salaries during 2004 free agency, McKenzie demanded a new contract, then a trade.

The Packers have agreed to let McKenzie's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, seek a trade. The Packers' demand of a first-round pick and/or a starter may be too high for most teams, however.

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