"There are a handful of veteran guys who most likely won't be here," McCarthy said. "(But) it's going to be an excellent off-season program."
Quarterback Brett Favre will be among the handful of no-shows. Favre is recovering from last month's surgery on his left ankle. McCarthy said Favre is progressing well with his rehab, and the 17th-year veteran apparently is on track to at least do some partial work during the full-squad minicamp in mid-May.
Favre's top backup, Aaron Rodgers, figures to be eased into the start of the off-season workouts, which includes a quarterback school coordinated by McCarthy, after recovering from a broken left foot sustained in November. Rodgers, though, is the subject of trade rumors involving Oakland receiver Randy Moss.
According to the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams may schedule or conduct off season workout programs for no more than 16 total weeks, and no more than four workouts per week, for any individual player. Workouts are not permitted on weekends, according to the CBA. During the program, the Packers will be allowed to conduct no more than 14 days of organized team practices, which are scheduled in May and June. During the program, each player that participates in any workouts or classroom instruction receives $120 per day. Some players have bonuses written into their contracts that they receive upon completion of the program.
"The four months here is the most important time for our football team," McCarthy said. "The most progress we will make as a football team, in my opinion, will come in March, April, May and June."
Favre to receive award
Brett Favre will be honored March 30 by a drug-counseling agency for the public stance he took last season on the NFL's handling of the one-year suspension leveled against teammate Koren Robinson for a repeat violation of the substance-abuse policy.
Favre felt that the league "turned its back" on Robinson by banishing the team from having interaction with the receiver during the suspension, which began in October. Robinson also is barred from team facilities until he possibly gains reinstatement this September.
"If he can't play, fine. If that's your ruling, fine," Favre said after Robinson was suspended. "But, at least let him come in where guys can say, 'Hey, Koren, can we help you out? You need someone to talk to?'"
A support system was in place for Favre when he was treated in 1996 for an addiction to painkillers.
"He had a few close teammates who supported him then, and I'm sure those memories were fresh in his mind when he chose to speak out in support of Koren," Packers spokesman Zak Gilbert said.
Favre will receive a Bronze Key Award, the highest honor of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, from the Waukesha, Wis.-based Addiction Resource Council.
Cornerback gets hitched
Cornerback Al Harris is having a banner off-season. It started in early February with his receiving a two-year contract extension, for which he had been lobbying for a year.
Then, on the eve of the start of the off-season workout program, South Florida resident Harris spent a few days at Disney World and was married there.
Peter King's take on Moss
Here is SI.com's Peter King's take on the Randy Moss situation:
"I think Randy Moss is not getting traded unless someone offers the Raiders something significant. Like a high second-round pick. They're not taking less than the Patriots dealt for Wes Welker (a two and a seven), that's for sure. I'm also told the Packers have had not only had no substantive discussions with the Raiders for Moss this offseason, but as GM Ted Thompson said this weekend, they've had no discussions with the Raiders for Moss.
"So how does such a story like this spring to life, a life that has no end in Sports Talk America and Sports Blog America? My theory is because a story may make sense -- in this case, the Packers being interested in a star wide receiver at a bargain price; because the current editions of the Raiders and Packers are relatively source-proof (and I say "relatively,'' because every organization has sources); and because Al Davis is as mysterious as ever, that a story can take on a major-league life with one tiny tidbit repeated 63 times. We seem to love gossip in this country. And why should sports be different than Hollywood?"
Quote to note
"I believe very strongly that our general manager, Ted Thompson, knows exactly what he's doing. He's always had a plan; he sticks by it; and all of our front-office people do a great job, so we just continue to trust them. I really feel that we've got a lot of the pieces already in place."
Defensive end Aaron Kampman on management's low-key approach to acquiring players in the off-season thus far, despite the team's having more than $20 million in salary-cap space.