Coach's comments on Harris

As expected, Al Harris was not present during the Green Bay Packers' final practice of the Organized Team Activities session today. Harris, unhappy with his current contract, made it publicly known Tuesday that he is thinking about not reporting for the start of training camp in late July.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy declined to address Harris' contract situation and had nothing but praise for the malcontent cornerback.

"In all the conversations that I've been told from other people have said that he's nothing but a true professional," McCarthy said. "He always comes in shape. He's an extremely hard worker, and I don't think that will change."

Harris attended the team's post-draft minicamp in early May, but then skipped the second mini-camp and all 14 OTA practices, which began on May 31. He signed a five-year, $18.6 million extension in September of 2004, but feels he is underpaid by current standards for a starting cornerback.

"I'm not going to discuss contracts," McCarthy said. "We don't do that through the media. I don't believe in communicating through the media. Really, that's not my area, so I'll leave it at that."

Harris' agent, Jack Bechta, recently said that the cornerback will report to camp, but now his intentions appear to be up in the air. Bechta again on Wednesday said that Harris will report for camp.

"Oh, yeah. That is not an issue," Bechta told The Associated Press. "We'll be in training camp."

Bechta said he spoke with Harris earlier Wednesday and had assurances from his client that he wouldn't be staying home in five weeks.

"According to my conversations with him, as (recently) as today, there's no holdout, there's no games being played. He'll go in and practice like he always does every year," Bechta said. "The guy hasn't missed a game (his entire career), and he doesn't want to jeopardize that streak."

Players and coaches have taken note of the absence Harris and cornerback Charles Woodson, but most are taking it in stride, at least publicly. Woodson recently signed a multi-year deal but opted not to attend the voluntary practices this past month.

"We'll have to see how it goes," said offensive tackle Mark Tauscher. "First of all, why worry about something hypothetical in the month of June when it's a couple of weeks before we even have to worry about it? If it comes up and that's an issue, we'll address it when it does. Until then, I think you're just wasting energy."


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