The agent for Mark Tauscher said the Packers' longtime starting right tackle is doing well in his rehab from knee reconstruction and is on track to be ready for the start of training camp.
In a phone interview with Packer Report on Monday, Neil Cornrich said Tauscher is "way ahead of schedule" with his recovery. Tauscher tore the ACL in his left knee for the second time of his career against Carolina in early December.
Tauscher came back from that 2002 injury to start all 16 games in four of the next five seasons, playing perhaps just a notch below a Pro Bowl level. But Tauscher was only 25 back then. Now, he's 31 — he'll be 32 when training camp begins — and his value on the free agent market certainly will be hurt by the injury.
"He's still a young player at that position," Cornrich said. "He's had a very productive pro career. Players like him with superior balance and a great work ethic tend to perform at a very high level."
Tauscher was the Packers' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his work promoting children's literacy and a great influence in the locker room. While many of the Packers' veteran players took a practice off here and there during training camp, Tauscher took practically every snap with the No. 1 offense.
"Mark is clearly one of our veteran leaders," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Tauscher's injury. "The way he's lined up and played week-in and week-out, playing through a hamstring injury, he's the guy you point to. He's a true pro.
"He's lined up and he's done everything we've asked. Very, very steady person. Has an excellent disposition for the position and really for our football team. Really consistent through and through."
Even before the injury, Tauscher wasn't enjoying his best season. He allowed more pressures than usual, though some of that can be pinned on Aaron Rodgers taking too much time in the pocket.
Cornrich represents two-thirds of the Packers' three unrestricted free agents, with the other being defensive tackle Colin Cole. Cole had his best season as a Packer last season as a backup in the defensive tackle rotation behind starters Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly.
In a move to a 3-4, Pickett and Cole are the Packers' only nose tackles.
Cornrich wouldn't say if there have been substantive talks between the Packers and his clients, but said "both players are very happy in the Packers' program."
"We'll just have to wait and see what happens," he said.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum.