Key Names Will Miss Minicamp

Because of injuries and other factors, several vital cogs will not participate in the mandatory minicamp that begins on Monday. That includes a few players who will be vying for starting jobs or fighting for roster spots.

As much as head coach Mike McCarthy has been extolling a high rate of participation by players in the offseason program this year, the Packers won't be close to full strength for their three-day minicamp that starts on Monday.

As many as 10 players who have been in medical rehab mode this spring — among them receiver Donald Driver, linebacker Nick Barnett and cornerback Al Harris — aren't expected to practice.

Add to that extensive no-dress list defensive end Johnny Jolly and, barring a late signing, safety Atari Bigby.

McCarthy said after Wednesday's organized team activity that he has excused Jolly from the mandatory minicamp. The news came two days after Jolly signed his one-year tender as a restricted free agent.

Rather than get Jolly up to speed in what will be a review of the entire playbook that was installed during the OTAs, the team feels the incumbent starter would be better served to stay away from football as he awaits going to trial on a felony drug possession charge. The repeatedly delayed start of the trial is scheduled for July 30, the same day Green Bay's players are to report for training camp.

"There's a lot going on, and he needs to focus and make sure he has everything in line," McCarthy said. "These decisions that are going to be made legally will affect every aspect of his life, most importantly his personal life and then his professional life."

Even if he's not convicted, Jolly could be suspended by the league for violating its personal-conduct policy.

The Packers presumably saved themselves another potential headache when cornerback Tramon Williams, a restricted free agent, also signed his one-year tender by June 15.

Any unsigned restricted free agents past that deadline are liable to have their original qualifying offers reduced by their teams, who only have to pay the player 110 percent of his base salary in 2009.

The Packers have one such player with Bigby. His tender was $1.76 million, and by not signing it, Bigby won't be out much money (roughly $55,000) should the Packers reduce the offer to the "110 percent" stipulation.

The loss in salary would have been more substantial for Williams and Jolly had they not signed, upward of $2 million for both players. Williams' base salary in 2010 will be $3.043 million, while Jolly will earn $2.521 million.

While an unsigned Bigby risks losing his starting job to impressive rookie Morgan Burnett, Williams should report to the team for the minicamp and will have a shot to step in as a starter with Harris rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. Harris may not be ready for the start of the season.

Three other players who will miss out on valuable practice time are tight end Spencer Havner, tackle T.J. Lang and center/guard Jason Spitz. Havner, even with his four touchdown receptions last season, will have to hold off fifth-round pick Andrew Quarless. Lang is expected to push Mark Tauscher for the starting job at right tackle. Spitz will battle incumbent starter Daryn Colledge at left guard. Havner is recovering from a broken scapula sustained during a motorcylce accident, Lang needed surgery on a wrist he injured late last season and Spitz missed most of last season with a back injury.

Others recovering from injury include receiver Brett Swain (knee), safety Will Blackmon (knee), safety Derrick Martin (ankle), Barnett (knee) and defensive end Ronald Talley (ankle). Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett missed parts of OTAs with various minor injuries. His status has not been determined.

The minicamp is structured as a review of the full body of offensive and defensive schemes that were installed during the OTAs — a total of nine installations.

"Everybody will have been introduced to all of the new concepts and everything we're trying to accomplish," McCarthy said.

All three practices will begin at 10:45 a.m. Workouts on Monday and Tuesday will be open to the fans.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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