"If you watch him work out in the weight room, you wonder why he's not practicing full-go," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "If you would ask Justin, he's ready to go. We're just being smart." McCarthy said the team's medical staff will meet again on Monday to determine if Harrell's surgically repaired left arm is good enough to let him practice. The Packers held Harrell out of 11-on-11 and pass-blocking drills in both the rookie orientation camp and the full-squad minicamp May 18-20. "Being a draft pick, you want to come out and show them why they drafted you," Harrell said. "When you don't get the opportunity to play football, it's kind of a bummer, but it's a part of football. I've just got to keep my head up and keep working and do what they let me do."
The 12 OTA practice sessions began Wednesday and are spread out over three weeks.
"As far as the strength levels, the range of motion, all those things are intact," McCarthy said. "It's not a question. Once again, time is important. If you watch him go through the individual and watch him in the weight room and things like that, all that points to that he's about ready. Once again, we're just being cautious."
Linebacker Abdul Hodge has yet to practice with the team this off-season. Hodge has been bothered by a knee injury that dates back to last season and likely will not return until the start of training camp.
"He's going through rehab and he's getting close," McCarthy said. "It's probably going to take him throughout the OTAs. Our target with Abdul is training camp."
Wide receiver Robert Ferguson may begin practicing with the team next week, McCarthy said. Ferguson has been held out of practices thus far this off-season due to a foot injury that he sustained last season.
"I would anticipate Robert being ready next week," McCarthy said. "Once again, we use the word cautious here a lot, and that's kind of been the theme with our medical players that have gone through that. He also fits in that category. But he's close. He's been here the whole offseason, and he's gone through the jog-throughs, and you can just watch him in the rehab and tell that he's really close. I'm hopeful that he'll be ready next week."
Defensive end Aaron Kampman (knee) also is not expected to participate in OTA practices after undergoing off-season knee surgery.
Ex-Packers lineman battles disease
Former Packers offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi has been diagnosed with with a treatable form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, his agent says.
"While this condition is very serious, both Joe and his doctors feel he will quickly be on his way to a full recovery," Linta told Scout.com.
Andruzzi made the Packers' roster in 1997 as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Connecticut State. He was released by Green Bay in training camp in 2000, then signed with the New England Patriots where he became a starter at guard for five seasons. He signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 2005 and was recently released.
Andruzzi is expected to begin a course of chemotherapy at the Dana Farber Institute in Boston.
"He is being treated by some of the best specialists in the country for his affliction," Linta said. "Joe is confident that he could not be in better hands. He would like to thank all of his fans and friends for the tremendous outpouring of support and prayers."
Packers Hall of Fame to honor five current Packers at ceremony
Donald Driver, Aaron Kampman, Daryn Colledge, A.J. Hawk and Greg Jennings all will receive awards honoring last season's accomplishments at the 37th Packer Hall of Fame induction banquet on July 21 in the Lambeau Field Atrium. Robert Brooks and LeRoy Butler will become the 135th and 136th members of the Hall.
Driver and Kampman will be co-honored as the team's ‘Most Valuable Player.' Driver, a repeat winner of the team MVP award, went to his second Pro Bowl following a 2006 season that saw him record career-highs in catches (92) and receiving yards (1,295) to go along with eight touchdowns. He also extended his streak of games with a reception to 80, the second-longest stretch in Packers history. His fourth career 1,000-yard receiving season places him in elite company with James Lofton (5) and Sterling Sharpe (5) as one of three Packers ever with as many as four 1,000-yard seasons.
Kampman enjoyed a banner year in 2006. His career-best 15½ sacks led the NFC, while his other career-high, 113 tackles, set a new franchise record for defensive linemen. The fifth-year pro was twice honored as NFC Defensive Player of the Week, joining Reggie White as the only Packers player to win the honor twice in the same season. He also was named Pass Rusher of the Year by the NFL Alumni Association. The Pro Football Weekly All-NFC and Associated Press second-team All-Pro honoree finished his season in Hawaii participating in his first Pro Bowl.
Colledge and Jennings will be co-honored as ‘Offensive Rookie of the Year.' Colledge played in all 16 games of his rookie campaign, earning a start in the final 15. He showed tremendous strides throughout the season, and was singled out at year's end by Head Coach Mike McCarthy as the team's most improved player. He was named to the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team. He excelled in the new zone-blocking scheme and was an integral part of the NFL's ninth-ranked offense.
Jennings emerged as a favorite of Brett Favre in the regular season, catching 45 passes for 632 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He earned a spot in NFL history after taking a simple curl route down the sidelines for a 75-yard score at Detroit on Sept. 24, Brett Favre's 400th career touchdown pass. He was one of three Packers to earn a spot on the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team and captured Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors after his first career 100-yard receiving game at Detroit.
Hawk will be honored as ‘Defensive Rookie of the Year.' He started all 16 games at the ‘Will' linebacker spot for the Packers and led the team with 155 tackles, second-most ever recorded by a Packers rookie. His 112 solo tackles was good for third among all NFL players, while his two interceptions among nine passes defensed and 3½ sacks showed his knack for the big play. Named to the prestigious Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team, Hawk was twice honored as the Diet Pepsi NFL 'Defensive Rookie of the Week.
Also at the banquet, the Hall of Fame will formally recognize this year's FAN honoree, Rich Barbera.
Tickets for the banquet, which begins with a cash bar at 4:30 p.m., with dinner and program to follow at 7 p.m., are $110 each. Tables of 10 also are available and are assigned in the order they are purchased. Early reservations are recommended. To purchase tickets, call Gwen Borga at (920) 965-6984, or e-mail her at email@example.com. No refunds are available 30 days prior to the event.
Packers had big interest in Johnson
Three-time Pro Bowl receiver Keyshawn Johnson recently acknowledged that the Packers were among a handful of teams in the running for his services as a free agent.
"They were very interested," Johnson said during a conference call for the announcement of his hiring as an NFL studio analyst by ESPN.
"We continued to talk to them. My agent continued to talk to them," Johnson added. "(Pro personnel director) Reggie McKenzie did a terrific job in trying to persuade us at some point in time to take a look at the Green Bay Packers."
Johnson, 34, said the Packers were under consideration because, in part, of quarterback Brett Favre.
"I think that the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre is always an interesting and exciting opportunity, when you can play alongside one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the history of the game," Johnson said. "So, there was always an interest there. (But) we never really got to a point where it was full steam ahead."