Two professional football players weren't allowed to practice Saturday because they weren't in good enough shape. Now, the key word here is professional.
As in, this is their job.
As in, what else did they have to do during the off-season? It's not like they're working a 9-to-5 gig at the foundry or local supermarket and didn't have time to hit the gym or run around the block a few times.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy put defensive tackles Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett on the non-football injury list on Saturday, the first day of training camp, because they failed Friday's conditioning test.
McCarthy said he was "not happy."
I might have used stronger words to convey that message.
Steve Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. As in pack your bags.
Nice knowing you.
Good luck finding a job at the local foundry or supermarket.
Especially good luck finding a job that has an especially good vending machine filled with luscious snacks.
Now, McCarthy just can't get rid of Pickett, though he should fine the snack money out of his wallet. He was a lynchpin on a darned good defense last year, and the same is expected of him this season for a team that needs the defense to win games. That, and he makes a boatload of money, and accelerating all of that prorated signing bonus would do bad things to this year's salary cap.
But Jolly, on the other hand?
Don't let the door hit your fat fanny on the way out.
Is that a double standard? Of course. Welcome to professional sports, where the good players are given a longer leash.
Then again, maybe that double standard isn't as big as you think.
Jolly was a nonfactor as a rookie last season, and he was anything but a lock to make the final roster this year. Especially since the Packers spent their first-round pick on Justin Harrell. If anyone needs a strong training camp to make the roster, it's Jolly. He opened camp as the No. 3 left defensive tackle. That's a pretty precarious position when your employer has invested so little (a sixth-round pick) in you. So, if I'm McCarthy or Ted Thompson, I'm asking myself whether Jolly really wants to play professional football for a living.
The 2006 season ended almost seven months ago. Jolly couldn't get himself into reasonable shape in that amount of time? With his Packers career — and possibly NFL career — on the line?
If Jolly would rather wear a trail into his floor as he migrates from the fridge to the couch all day, fine. Let him. Get rid of him now so he doesn't waste another minute of the coaches' and trainers' time.