"I feel like I let my team down by not being here," Pickett said. "I had issues I had to deal with. I just wish I could have been here with them, to go through what they've been going through. It hurt me that I couldn't be here."
Pickett signed a four-year, $14 million contract with the Packers in March. The deal included $5 million in signing bonuses. He attended the team's first two mini-camps in May.
Pickett was one of the team's trio of veterans that did not participate in any of the team's practices during the current OTA period. Cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson again were not at practice on Thursday. Harris is not expected to report because he is unhappy with his current contract. Woodson was out of the country earlier this month but has since returned, according to coach Mike McCarthy.
Pickett, 26, is expected to take the place of unsigned Grady Jackson this year along the defensive line. He was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams. Though he did not practice with the first-team defense on Thursday, he will be the starter when the regular season begins.
"We're glad to have him back, but as one would expect, he was a little rusty out there," defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said. "We're not worried about him. He has a great work ethic and will be fine."
Pickett said he plans to be a leader on the team. He is disappointed that the set of circumstances he is under did not allow him to participate in earlier practices this month.
"I take it on myself. I want to be a leader," Pickett said. "A leader doesn't miss this many days, so I'm kind of hard on myself. But at the same time, I had stuff I had to deal with."