Nick Collins, Donald Driver and Charles Woodson were nowhere to be found on the second practice of organized team activities on Thursday, and coach Mike McCarthy didn't have the least bit of interest in explaining their absence.
"No different than what we've done in the past. I know everyone understands that whether it's personal reasons, business reasons, whatever they are, I'm not going to discuss those," McCarthy said. "I know the fans respect that we don't do business in the media or personal or whatever the nature of their reasons are."
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Driver's reasons are financial. According to what the newspaper called NFL and Packers sources, Driver wants a new contract.
Driver is entering the final year of his contract in which he's scheduled to make $4.9 million in base salary and roster bonuses. Driver, 34, enters this season just 18 receptions shy of Sterling Sharpe's team record of 595.
The Packers reworked his deal following the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Collins' absence likely is two-pronged. He's not happy with his contract as he enters the final season of his five-year rookie deal. Plus, his father died on May 16 with his funeral on Saturday, according to the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun.
His agent, Dave Butz. Jr., did not respond to e-mails on Wednesday and Thursday.
Defensive ends Cullen Jenkins (ankle) and Alfred Malone, linebacker Nick Barnett (knee), center Scott Wells (shoulder) and offensive tackles Breno Giacomini (ankle) and Chad Clifton (knees and shoulders) ran on the side. Safety Atari Bigby (ankle) was sidelined, as well.
"I'm not concerned about any of those players not being ready. Maybe at the end of OTAs or no later than training camp," McCarthy said, saying Jenkins and Giacomini are "close" and Barnett is doing "very well."
Rookie linebackers Clay Matthews III (hamstring strain sustained on Wednesday) and Brad Jones (groin strain that kept him out Wednesday, too) and receiver Lorne Sam (abdominal strain from Wednesday) were completely sidelined. Two rookies, cornerback Brandon Underwood (sixth round) and running back Tyrell Sutton (undrafted) were not allowed to attend because they are still in school. Tight end Travis Dekker from Air Force was placed on the reserve-military list on Wednesday, McCarthy said.
Two players with contract issues who were full participants at practice were receiver Greg Jennings and cornerback Tramon Williams. Jennings said he hoped a new contract is hammered out soon, and joked with reporters that they should prod general manager Ted Thompson to get something done.
"I can't say enough about him," McCarthy said when asked about Williams. "He works every day, always has a smile on his face."
One-year contract for Williams
Speaking of Williams, the Packers on Thursday afternoon announced they had signed the exclusive-rights free agent cornerback to a one-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.
He started nine games last season with a career-high five interceptions.
- Want to know what Aaron Kampman thinks of moving to outside linebacker? Join the club. He was not in the locker room during Thursday's media session. He still has not spoken publicly about the change.
- McCarthy is going to stick with three quarterbacks.
- B.J. Raji played a lot of defensive end in the base defense, with Ryan Pickett at nose tackle. With Matthews out, Jeremy Thompson – not Brady Poppinga – worked with the No. 1 defense at right outside linebacker.
- Second-year tight end Jermichael Finley and undrafted outside linebacker Cyril Obiozor got into a shoving match, with Finley getting in the last shot – to Obiozor's face mask. Finley played at Texas and Obiozor at Texas A&M, for what it's worth.
- Practice was held inside the Don Hutson Center because of all-day rains on Tuesday and Wednesday. The next practice that will be open to reporters and fans will be Wednesday.
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