Cloud hovers over 1265 Lombardi Avenue

Off-field sagas have dulled positive vibes as Packers enter camp, says Packer Report's Matt Tevsh

A dark cloud which could become a storm in three days when the Packers begin training camp is hovering over Green Bay.

At the offices of 1265 Lombardi Avenue, football matters have been complicated by several off-the-field issues over the past month, which has led to a most trying time for the Packers organization.

While the Packers should be building on the positive vibes of a 13-3 regular season and a trip to the NFC Championship game, they have major distractions and no easy solutions like ... What to do with "retired" quarterback Brett Favre?

How to solve the complicated contract situation with running back Ryan Grant?

And what to make of starting defensive tackle Johnny Jolly's arrest?

For the time being, the focus for many Packers' fans is off the battles that usually define training camp and the hope that a new season brings. Instead, there is an uneasy, unwanted feeling.

The saga of Favre has taken on a life of its own since reports first came out in early July that he had the "itch" to play again. The most recent reports say the Packers are gauging trade interest for Favre, a notion that at one time would have driven Packers Nation to revolt. Now it is divided.

There is also the remote chance, too, that Favre could be taken off the Packers' reserve/retired list soon and report to camp in Green Bay. In interviews, the quarterback has said he would be tempted to do as much, even with the perceived rift created between him and Packers management. If he would follow through with that temptation, camp would become a circus.

Perhaps equally complex, but maybe not quite as compelling as Favre's situation, are the contract negotiations between Grant, a budding superstar, and the Packers. The Packers need Grant, and Grant needs the Packers after all that he has been through. Still, the solution is not that easy.

While both sides have legitimate arguments, the Packers have the upper hand. That could mean Grant, an exclusive rights free agent with limited leverage even after a standout season, will be on sidelines for at least some of training camp. The Packers offense cannot afford any lost time with a Grant holdout or risk another slow start for the rushing attack.

As for Jolly, his arrest this month in Houston on drug charges could lead to a possible suspension by the league based on Commissioner Roger Goodell's personal conduct policy. With a court hearing reportedly re-scheduled for Aug. 27, the upstart defensive lineman will have more important matters on his mind that getting ready for the regular season.

The Packers are counting on Jolly to anchor the middle of their defensive line alongside Ryan Pickett. With Corey Williams gone and Justin Harrell looking like more of a bust at this point, any time without Jolly would be a major setback for a defense looking to take its final step towards becoming a championship unit.

How will the Packers overcome these matters and still get ready to field a winning team? Only time will tell. Thursday's shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field should present a sunny outlook, but after that, the forecast is still, unfortunately, unpredictable.

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