After skipping the first three weeks of organized team activities while seeking a contract extension, Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins was back at practice on Wednesday.
Though he didn't participate and he didn't watch for long.
Collins took part in warm-ups and watched the lengthy jog-through portion that starts practice. Then, he headed inside the Don Hutson Center with Cullen Jenkins, Atari Bigby and other rehabbing players. While those rehabbing players later returned to watch practice, there was no sign of Collins.
Coach Mike McCarthy had little definitive to say on the subject, and Collins wasn't in the locker room to meet the press.
"Well, the jog-through is really the most important reps for what we are trying to accomplish on a daily basis," McCarthy said. "Our jog-through directly reflects the install of the day. This was an install day. Really, we have always put medical in front, just from a priority standpoint. All of the other periods are on film; that is the benefit of the rest of the practice."
During the 25-minute jog-through period, elements of the playbook are worked on at far less less than full throttle, as the term would imply. For most of the period, Collins was joined at the hip by safeties coach Darren Perry, though Collins ventured off to talk to and joke with Bigby, Charles Woodson and other members of the secondary.
Last year at this time, running back Ryan Grant took part in the entire offseason program but held himself out of practices as he sought a new contract. McCarthy said the Collins situation is different.
"I wouldn't say he is on Ryan Grant's program from last year," McCarthy said. "He went through the jog-through, and then went with the rehab (group). He obviously hasn't been here, so we'll see how the rehab workout went. I have not had a chance to visit with the trainers and see where Nick is. Once again, these segments are voluntary."
Collins, who arrived in the area to play in Donald Driver's charity softball game on Sunday, is entering the final year of his contract. He's set to make $3.045 million after tying teammate Charles Woodson for the league high with seven interceptions. He has stayed away from Green Bay for most of the offseason, due in part to his desire for a contract and the death of his father a month ago.
Collins' agent, Dave Butz Jr., did not immediately reply to an e-mail asking about the status of contract talks — or if this talks were even taking place.
When Collins finally steps on the field, his adjustment to the new defensive scheme will begin in earnest. Presumably, the Packers were testing his conditioning on Wednesday, but one would think it would have been in Collins' best interests to be chained to Perry like a puppy on a leash. After all, Collins' position serves as the ringleader of the defense.
Just where is Collins mentally, with the mandatory three-day minicamp set to start Monday?
"I think these questions are more suited for Nick, exactly what he has been doing," McCarthy said.
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