Packers notebook

Training camp opens July 28; Martin, TN connection; running for a starting spot

The Green Bay Packers announced on Monday that the first training camp practice will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, July 28.

The players' reporting date for training camp will be one day earlier, July 27.

The full day-to-day training camp schedule is expected to be finalized in June.

In addition, Coach McCarthy announced that six organized team activities (OTAs) in June would be open to the public on Ray Nitschke Field, weather permitting. Those dates encompass all of the Monday and Thursday workouts during OTAs, scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on May 31, June 4, June 7, June 11, June 14 and June 18. The workouts on June 4 and 11 will be limited to mostly younger players, with many veterans excused.

The upcoming rookie orientation camp (May 4-6) and mandatory mini-camp (May 18-20) will be held in the Don Hutson Center and therefore will be closed to the public.

A lot in common
There are only about 10,000 residents in the city of Martin, Tenn., but its populace can boast that it's home to a pair of Green Bay Packers.

Seven years after taking offensive tackle Chad Clifton in the second round of the draft, the Packers made defensive tackle Justin Harrell their first-round pick this year. Clifton and Harrell are graduates of Westview High School in Martin, as well as products of the University of Tennessee.

"When I was talking to him (on the phone) right prior to the (16th overall) pick, he said, 'Yeah, I'm ready. You've got my homeboy, Chad Clifton, up there,'" Packers general manager Ted Thompson said.

Harrell was to be honored in Martin with a banquet hosted by his parents the evening of April 29. The prior commitment kept Harrell from going to Green Bay to meet team officials and the media Sunday.

Harrell is expected to report to the team May 3, on the eve of the start of the team's first minicamp. The three-day camp will be an orientation for rookies and select first-year players.

The full squad will assemble for a mandatory minicamp May 18-20, at which time Harrell won't feel too lost as a newcomer because of having left tackle Clifton lined up on the other side.

"He's always been somebody that has given me advice. So, I know I've got somebody in Green Bay that can kind of show me the ropes when I first get up there," Harrell said.

Familiar number
Harrell has another connection to the Packers. He's the last player who wore No. 92 at Tennessee. The school retired the number that once was adorned by the late Reggie White, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who anchored Green Bay's defense for six years in the 1990s.

"I guess I'm following in his footsteps a little bit because now I'm a Green Bay Packer," Harrell said. "He had a lot of years up there as a great player for the Packers. It was just an honor (to wear the same jersey number). I got a chance to meet him a couple times at Tennessee when he came and spoke to the team. He was a great man and somebody that you wanted to pattern your game after."

The Packers retired White's No. 92 in 2005. Harrell will wear No. 91.

Up for grabs
Unless they follow through with a trade for San Diego's Michael Turner or Kansas City's Larry Johnson, either of which seems remote at best, the Packers will enter the start of their May minicamp schedule this weekend with an unsettled backfield.

Nebraska's Brandon Jackson, a second-round draft pick, and Florida's DeShawn Wynn, a seventh-round choice, were added to a nondescript mix of Vernand Morency, P.J. Pope and Arliss Beach as Green Bay tries to replace Ahman Green, who signed a lucrative deal with Houston in free agency.

The new fad in the league is to go with a multi-back approach. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged during draft weekend he wouldn't be opposed to divvying up the carries between two or three of his young backs, likely starting with Morency and Jackson.

"If one individual can prove himself to carry the load, then we'll go that way. But, if not, we'll play situations, back by committee," McCarthy said. "We're going to do what's best for our football team."

Favre charity game June 17
As long as quarterback Brett Favre still is playing football, his charity softball game will carry on another year.

The eighth annual event will be held June 17 in Grand Chute, Wis., which is about 25 miles south of Green Bay. Favre rounds up several of his teammates to play in the game.

The Brett Favre Fourward Foundation uses all proceeds to help disadvantaged and disabled children in Wisconsin and Favre's home state of Mississippi.

Quote to note
"Hopefully, when I get there and just show 'em what I can do and they start accepting me, they will turn those boos into cheers. I'm just looking for the opportunity. I'm blessed right now, and I just can't wait to get up there."
Justin Harrell, when informed that Packers fans booed general manager Ted Thompson for selecting the defensive tackle from Tennessee in the first round of the NFL draft

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