Packers dropped ball with Roman

Safety has right to be steamed over lack of communication

Mark Roman is ticked off at the Packers organization, mainly general manager Ted Thompson, and it is easy to understand why. Ever since Roman signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Packers in 2004, he has received little respect.

When Thompson went out and inked Roman's former backup in Cincinnati, Marquand Manuel, to a five-year, $10 million deal in early March, Roman received the ultimate insult: Nobody from the Packers bothered to let him in on the move. He found out through the media.

"There was no communication," Roman said. "That was really the most important thing."

Roman said he would have been fine if Thompson, or head coach Mike McCarthy, would have at least given him a heads-up of their intention of signing Manuel. Roman says he has nothing against Manuel. Both players are "tight" and have known each other since they were together in Cincinnati in 2002 and '03.

Roman, entering his seventh year in the National Football League, is frustrated with the Packers and the way the situation was handled. So frustrated that he skipped the team's off-season workout program and requested to be released from his contract so he can sign with another team. Thompson, however, declined to grant Roman his wish.

"Once the story broke, I didn't hear nothing from nobody here for about a week," Roman said. "I thought I deserved the respect of a phone call. There was just no communication."

Roman, whose contract expires after the 2007 season, participated in the team's first off-season mini-camp this weekend, but he said he is unsure if he will attend the next mini-camp May 19-21.

"I don't know," Roman said. "I don't know, we'll see. I don't know."

Roman is coming off his best season as a pro. Last year, he led the Packers' defensive backs and tied for second on the team with a career high 105 tackles. He also had two interceptions, eight passes defensed and two fumble recoveries – all career bests. It was a big improvement over his 2004 season in which he finished with 85 tackles and no interceptions. He did have 3.5 sacks, but gave up a number of big plays.

Roman had to beat out veterans Arturo Freeman and Earl Little last year in training camp to keep his starting job. In 2004, he beat out Marques Anderson, Green Bay's third-round draft pick in 2002, for the starting job.

After a career season last year, Roman probably felt he did enough to be the favorite as starter heading into training camp. Now, with Manuel under contract, he'll enter camp trying to make the team as a backup to a player who was once his backup. Talk about a kick in the shins.

McCarthy on Sunday admitted the Packers could have handled the situation better. Roman says that's nice, but a phone call on the day that Green Bay signed Manuel would have been nicer.

"At least I would have known about it and it wouldn't have been a total shock," Roman said. "There was just no communication for a long time. Like I said, I thought I did enough to deserve the respect of a phone call."

Roman's right. Competition is great. It ultimately makes the team better. But now the Packers have a player who wants out, a negative toward the goal of good team chemistry. Will Roman hold out of the next mini-camp, or training camp? Only he knows, but the lack of communication offended a pretty good defensive back.

To Roman's credit, he is staying as positive, keeping his chin up, realizing this is the ugly business side of the NFL.

"I'm here now, so while I'm here all I'm doing is doing my job, and that's to play football and put my best foot forward," he said.

While it's difficult to keep everybody happy all the time, the Packers had a chance to soften the blow for Roman, but instead blindsided him with silence.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report. E-mail him at

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