Fight, rumors grip secondary

The Green Bay Packers football team might not lead the NFC North, but if their cornerbacks were a soap opera, they would lead the Nielsen ratings.

As one of the stars you have Mike McKenzie, who is unhappy despite signing a contract that made him a millionaire 17 times over. The co-stars are rookies Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas, who admit they got into a scuffle during film study last week.

In the latest installment of "Days of Our Packers," Thomas and Carroll on Wednesday said their spat was nothing more than a family dispute.

"It was just family business. We're just going to keep it within the family," Thomas, the first of the Packers' three third-round picks, said.

Carroll, the first-round pick, said "arguing" triggered the fracas.

Whatever happened, both parties assure that the Packers again are one, big happy family.

"Joey and I are really good friends," said Carroll of his training-camp and road-trip roommate. "You're going to get into arguments as teammates. We shook hands, and everything is fine."

With neither Carroll nor Thomas playing a role in last week's debacle against Indianapolis, a popular theory is coach Mike Sherman gave both players a timeout for punishment.

Carroll was kept in Green Bay, due to a groin injury suffered the Thursday before the game. Thomas played special teams only, and was passed by undrafted rookie Jason Horton on the game-day depth chart, even though Thomas practiced with the first team on Friday in place of Carroll and McKenzie.

Thomas, who generally outplayed Carroll during training camp before being sidelined with a leg injury midway through camp, offered little of substance to explain why he had no role with the defense despite the secondary getting blitzed by the Colts' high-powered offense.

"I'm just a player, so I don't know anything about punishment or anything like that," Thomas said. "All I can do is go out there and play. If it is, it is. If it wasn't, it wasn't. We'll never know."

Sherman, hoping to put the episode behind him so he can focus on turning around his 1-2 team, said he found the media's focus on the situation "humorous."

"I remember getting in a fight with a guy during a church(-league) basketball game — my teammate, who wouldn't throw me the ball. I wanted to score," Sherman said.

Meanwhile, on the McKenzie front, Sherman remained tight-lipped about any trade possibilities. Rumors have swirled for the better part of a week that a trade was imminent. One report had McKenzie dealt before the Colts game. ESPN on Monday reported McKenzie would be traded sometime this week. That report got some legs after Saints coach Jim Haslett said his team — the long-rumored ultimate destination for McKenzie — would "love" to have the cornerback on his team.

"I guess I'll say what I usually do — I don't comment on such things," Sherman said.

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