Packers notebook: Rodgers in charge

OTAs get under way this week, and all eyes will be on new starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers

The public unveiling of Aaron Rodgers as starting quarterback unofficially begins Wednesday.

The Packers will hold the first of four outdoor practices that will be open to fans on Wednesday, provided the weather cooperates, as part of their organized team activities.

The team's OTAs commenced on Monday and are spread over four weeks. The full squad will be on hand, although the sessions are voluntary.

As the sole veteran of the quarterback group, Rodgers gave way to new understudies Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn in the rookie orientation camp earlier this month.

Now, Rodgers' every move will be scrutinized, from the OTAs to the mandatory minicamp June 17-19 and then from the first day of training camp July 28 through all of next season.

Such is the life of playing in the small fishbowl of Green Bay and being the successor to the league's only three-time MVP, Brett Favre, who retired in March.

"Aaron's a pro. He knows this is his gig now," general manager Ted Thompson said. "I know he hasn't played a lot (his first three years in the league) but ... he carries himself very well. He'll be fine. He knows this is his job."

Rodgers has spent extra time preparing for the starting gig he has coveted since the Packers selected him in the first round of the 2005 draft. He started working with head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements in their quarterback school on St. Patrick's Day (March 17), the first day the younger players began the team's offseason program.

Second-year running back Ryan Grant also has been a regular attendee for the conditioning and training at the Packers facilities, even though he's not under contract.

Coming off a surprisingly prolific second half of last season, Grant is seeking a lucrative contract and has refused to sign the team's tender as an exclusive-rights free agent.

Grant recently said he won't hold out of training camp in lieu of a long-term pact.

McCarthy told Sirius Radio on May 9 that he's not concerned about Grant's contract situation lingering into the late summer.

"We're working through that," McCarthy said. "He's here every day working. It's something that we're just looking at, and we'll move forward when the time is appropriate. I have full faith that those things will always be worked out."

Favre in celebrity golf tournament
Prior to his return to Green Bay, avid golfer Favre will play for the first time in the American Century Championship celebrity tournament in Lake Tahoe, July 8-13.

Aaron Rodgers, Favre's successor with the Packers, will be a repeat participant in the event that attracts A-list celebrities from sports and entertainment.

A first for a Brazilian?
As far as Packers rookie offensive tackle Breno Giacomini knows, he is the first player who is a descendant of soccer-crazed Brazil to join the ranks of the NFL.

"It makes me proud, my family proud, a lot of people in Brazil," Giacomini said. "They're always calling my mother."

Giacomini, a fifth-round draft pick out of Louisville, is often confused for being Italian.

"Really, the only Italian person in my family was my great grandfather," Giacomini said. "Everybody else is from Brazil. My parents came here about a year before I was born."

Injury update
The Packers' full-squad workouts started in earnest on Monday with a four-week block of organized team activities.

The OTAs are voluntary, but head coach Mike McCarthy is expecting close to full participation. A few who won't be on the field are injured-reserve casualties from last year.

The team is being cautious with the likes of defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (shoulder), tight end Tory Humphrey (ankle) and linebacker Abdul Hodge (knees), as well as cornerback Will Blackmon, who was riddled by foot injuries his first two years. All of them probably will be held out of the mandatory minicamp, June 17-19, to ensure they're ready for the start of training camp in late July.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "(One) of the things he said was he loves the competition, (but) he's just tired of the daily grind. And, I feel the same way."
-- LPGA star Annika Sorenstam, who on May 13 while announcing her plan to retire at the end of the year referenced the March 6 retirement news conference by Packers quarterback Brett Favre.


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