UPDATE: McKenzie reports for duty

In the months-long standoff between Mike McKenzie and the Green Bay Packers, McKenzie blinked first.

The holdout cornerback met with Packers coach/general manager Mike Sherman on Wednesday morning and reported for duty after missing the off-season minicamps, training camp and the first regular-season game.

"Mike McKenzie is back here to play for the Packers, and that is where we are right now. We will take it one day at a time," Sherman said at a Wednesday news conference.

McKenzie did not talk to reporters Wednesday, nor does he have any plans to this season, the Packers' media-relations staff said. In a revealing comment made to Green Bay television station WBAY-TV Channel 2 upon getting off the plane from Memphis, Tenn., on Tuesday night, McKenzie simply said: "It's not my decision to be here."

As promised all along by Sherman, the players and members of the organization, there will be no grudges held against McKenzie.

"If you hold grudges in this business and in life, it is hard to move forward. ... What was yesterday was yesterday. That's old news," Sherman said.

The players agreed. Brett Favre, McKenzie's harshest critic, was happy to see McKenzie, and vice versa.

"He came up to me (upon entering the locker room in the morning) and grabbed me from behind and just said he was glad to be back," Favre said. "I said, ‘We're glad to have you.'"

McKenzie — who vowed to never again play for the Packers — took part in Wednesday's practice, which Sherman closed to the media. Whether McKenzie will be activated for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears is a mystery, though defensive coordinator Bob Slowik wouldn't rule it out.

"We're approaching it as if we're trying to get him ready to play today or tomorrow," Slowik said. By league rule, McKenzie will not count against the 53-player roster limit for two weeks, or until activated. McKenzie left the team in part because he apparently was unhappy that his five-year, $17.1 million contract had been surpassed this off-season by other, lesser — in McKenzie's estimation — players. Sherman said all along that McKenzie's contract would not be reworked, and Sherman on Wednesday stuck to that pledge.

Sherman said McKenzie kept himself in good shape during his absence. He had been working out in Memphis, with an eye on the Packers trading him. The trade never developed, with the Packers asking for a first-round pick or a player of equal caliber and no team willing to pay that steep a price.

"It looked like he had been training and was in shape and that's positive thing. We are going to try to get him ready as soon as possible," Sherman said.

Sherman was vague about whether McKenzie was here for the long term or was simply auditioning for a trade. McKenzie's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on Tuesday said he would push Sherman to make a deal before the Oct. 19 trade deadline. Sherman said he hadn't heard that statement from McKenzie, however.

"I don't put a lot of weight in what other people say for people," Sherman said.

Echoing his players, Sherman said he was not worried about McKenzie having an attitude problem or playing at less than 100 percent mentally.

"He has always been professional, always done his job. He's been no problem for me in regard to getting ready to play a football game," Sherman said. "He loves his teammates. He wants to win."

By failing to report last week, McKenzie forfeited the first of 17 installments on his $2.75 million salary. In addition to that $161,765, McKenzie could have been fined $5,000 a day for each day of practice missed since training camp started last month.

Veteran Michael Hawthorne started in McKenzie's place Monday at Carolina, with rookie first-round pick Ahmad Carroll getting plenty of playing time at the position. Opposite that duo, starting right cornerback Al Harris signed a five-year extension worth nearly $19 million last week.


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