Dynamic duo on summer break

While many of their teammates arrived in Green Bay last week to take part in the first of the 14 scheduled Organized Team Activities practices, cornerback Charles Woodson and Al Harris were absent. The two are expected to start for the Packers this season, but the team won't know until training camp how they will work together.

The Packers aren't going to know until the pads come on and the live contact starts whether they have a fearsome 1-2 punch in cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris.

Yet, their desire of getting an off-season sneak peek of the newly united duo started and stopped with a few practices during the first minicamp in early May. Since then, Woodson and Harris have given football a rest.

Both players skipped the voluntary second minicamp later in May. They didn't bother to report for the first week of an optional four-week phase of organized team activities, which include 14 practices and run until June 21.

"I think they deserve not to be here, as much work as they've put in (in their careers)," fellow cornerback Ahmad Carroll said. "I've talked to Al, and I know he and Charles are working out. When they show up, they'll be in shape and they'll just pick up right where they left off. This isn't going to hurt them at all."

Carroll, naturally, wasn't squawking that Woodson and Harris have stayed away for the last month. It's meant reclaiming, if only on a temporary basis, the starting spot the 2004 first-round draft pick lost after the Packers signed Woodson, a four-time Pro Bowl honoree, to a lucrative free-agent contract.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said Woodson might report back for some of the OTAs. He's been traveling out of the country.

As for Harris, indications are he won't rejoin the team until training camp beckons in late July. Harris has refused to take part in anything not required of the players because he's seeking a reworked contract in light of Woodson's deal that includes up to $10 million in earnings this year.

Harris has four years remaining on the five-year, $18.6 million contract extension he received in 2004. That deal was brokered at the same time the Packers were at their wits' end with disgruntled cornerback Mike McKenzie, whom they eventually traded to New Orleans early that season.

Harris' agent, Jack Bechta, reiterated comments made by his client last month that he won't follow the lead of McKenzie and hold out of training camp. In lieu of a new contract, Harris also won't resort to the retirement threats made earlier this year by wide receiver Javon Walker, who got his wish and was traded to Denver during draft weekend.

"There's going to be nothing to write about come (training) camp," Bechta said.

Still, the notable absences of Harris, Woodson and two other projected starters on defense -- safety Nick Collins and nose tackle Ryan Pickett -- at the outset of the OTAs didn't sit well with at least one teammate. Collins finally reported Friday after missing the first two days.

"We're a younger team, and the more guys see the older guys here, they see that, 'Hey, this is the way it's supposed to be,'" defensive end Aaron Kampman said.

He cited the commitment made by the team's elder statesman, Brett Favre, to be on hand for the optional workouts.

"We've got our quarterback here, so that kind of says it all. I think that just shows you the type of guy he is, to have been at it this long, and he's here for a voluntary practice," Kampman added.

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