Packers notebook

Draft stategy; Packers pay for shattered backboard; ex-receiver now a coach

Precedent was established the first two years Ted Thompson presided over the Packers' draft room. The otherwise low-key general manager was extremely ambitious, making seven trades to load up on 23 draft picks.

The common denominator in all of Thompson's wheeling and dealing on draft weekend was that he traded down to accumulate 10 more selections than with which he started. The exercise has proved to be beneficial because 16 of those players remain with the team, including six starters.

Armed with nine picks and with few needs to address, this could be the year Thompson breaks his habit and trades up to make a different type of splash in the draft.

Something has to give because the Packers, who were just 8-8 last season even after winning their last four games, have been remarkably quiet in the off-season. Money hasn't been an issue for a team that had nearly $30 million in salary-cap room at the start of the free-agent period. Thompson's only signing, however, has been former New York Giants cornerback Frank Walker, who will be no higher than third on the depth chart.

Thompson instead has been insistent on rewarding his own players, meting out contract extensions to cornerback Al Harris, linebacker Nick Barnett and defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, who would have been a restricted free agent.

The Packers also might be stashing away cap money in the event the long-rumored acquisition of Oakland receiver Randy Moss comes true. A draft-weekend trade is a possibility, which would augment Brett Favre's earlier decision to return for a 17th NFL season.

With all 11 defensive starters back in the fold, the draft focus will be on patching glaring holes on offense -- namely, running back, tight end and perhaps receiver, depending on what happens with Moss.

Thompson is confident that "we're going to get a very good player at (number) 16." Yet, holding there could keep the Packers from replacing workhorse back Ahman Green, who signed with the Texans, with Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson or Cal's Marshawn Lynch. They surely would have to move up high to get Peterson and might have to vault ahead of Buffalo at No. 12 to land Lynch.

If the Packers were to trade out of 16 and go back in the first round, Miami tight end Greg Olsen, Florida safety Reggie Nelson and any number of quality receivers would probably be targeted.

"We're a young team, and we have some good, solid veterans, and we finished well at the end (last season). But, we're not naive to the fact that we need to try to get better," Thompson said. "I'd like to get better from within and have some of our guys develop. But, we're not in a position where we can be all that choosy. We can help our team at almost any position."

Robinson finishing sentence in Green Bay
Suspended receiver Koren Robinson is in Green Bay to finish serving a 90-day jail sentence. Robinson, who reported to the Brown County Jail on April 16, is serving the final 45 days of the sentence on a work-release, electronic-monitoring program.

Classified as a minimum security risk, Robinson is able to rehabilitate a knee injury on the watch of Packers doctor Pat McKenzie and work odd jobs at a Green Bay hospital.

Robinson was sentenced to the 90 days in jail by a Minnesota judge in February. Playing for the Vikings at the time, Robinson was arrested Aug. 15 near the team's training-camp facility in Mankato, Minn., after leading police on a high-speed chase. Robinson, who had been drinking and was trying to get back to camp before curfew, was charged with a felony of fleeing police.

The Vikings subsequently released Robinson, and the Packers signed him after the first game last season. Robinson played in four games with Green Bay before the league suspended him for a year as a repeat offender of the substance-abuse policy. Robinson, who remains on the Packers roster, will be eligible to apply for reinstatement Sept. 18.

The most recent incident in Minnesota was ruled to be a violation of a probation Robinson incurred from a drunken-driving arrest outside Seattle in 2005 when he was with the Seahawks.

Robinson was sentenced to 90 days in jail for the violation and later was ordered to serve another 90 days for the arrest in Minnesota. The judge in the latter case ruled that Robinson could serve both sentences concurrently and in Green Bay. However, Robinson wound up serving the first 45 days at a facility near Minneapolis because the Green Bay jail was full.

Packers fall short on signing James
The Packers' pursuit of free-agent cornerback Tory James didn't prove fruitful. The 12th-year veteran signed a one-year deal with New England, which loaded the contract with incentives that could net the former Cincinnati starter as much as $2.7 million.

Green Bay's only free-agent acquisition to date is former New York Giants cornerback Frank Walker, who will challenge for the nickel-back role.

Packers will pay for broken backboard
Although he's more than half a foot shorter than the Ohio State standout, defensive end Mike Montgomery has elicited comparisons to 7-foot Greg Oden by his Packers teammates. Montgomery, a third-year pro, shattered a glass backboard at Waupun (Wis.) High School during a charity basketball game involving Green Bay players April 13.

"After I had done it, I jumped and I took off because the glass was shattering everywhere," the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Montgomery said. "But, after a couple of minutes, I calmed down, and I looked back and was like, 'Man, I just shattered the glass.' It's amazing (to dunk like) Shaq and all of those big dudes."

A high-school student who was on the team playing against the Packers had to be treated at a hospital for a piece of broken glass in an eye. The student was released from the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Packers planned to send a check in the amount of $2,400 to Waupun High School to replace the broken backboard and the other backboard in the gymnasium.

Ex-receiver turns to coaching in Texas
Once-promising Packers receiver Terrence Murphy, who suffered a career-ending injury as a rookie, has returned to football. He is coaching receivers and kick returners at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

"I wanted to explore other things and take a rest from football, but I realized that wasn't for me," Murphy told the Athens Daily Review.

Murphy's pro career ended not long after the Packers drafted him in the second round in 2005. The fallout from a helmet-to-helmet hit he took from Carolina's Thomas Davis on a kickoff return in October that year was stenosis, a narrowing of the spine near the neck.

The Packers released Murphy last year after doctors advised him to not return to the field.

Quote to note
"He really knows what he's doing. As players, we trust that he's got a plan and a vision for the people who are here and adding a piece here or there in free agency and then really incorporating our draft picks in."
-- Running back Noah Herron on the off-season approach of Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who thus far has signed only one free agent from another team

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