It's been several months since last time the Green Bay Packers took to the field in pads, but it starts again at 2pm on Saturday, July 31. And there's been a bunch of news leading up to the start of training camp.
- Three Packers have failed their physical. CB Al Harris is no surprise as he recovers from his horrific knee injury. RB James Starks isn't either since he missed all of last season in college with a shoulder injury. But SS Atari Bigby did surprise me. I knew he had problems with his ankle in 2008, and I thought he had some lingering injuries, but I wasn't aware his ankle was that bad. According to the Journal-Sentinel, the Packers didn't realize it either until he took the conditioning test:
The Packers became aware of the ankle issue when he had problems with the conditioning test.
"There was communication with Atari, but we all know what his business situation was," coach Mike McCarthy said. "This is really the first opportunity our doctors have had to examine him."
This gives another explanation for his long delay in signing his restricted free agent tender. Would his ankle have been in better shape if he had kept the team doctors in the loop?
- Rookie 1st round LT Bryan Bulaga has signed a 5-year contract, with $8.75 million guaranteed, and he will attend the start of training camp. It sure doesn't hurt to have him in camp on time, and now he won't have to make up any missed practices. And those guaranteed dollars aren't too much considering the huge rookie contracts being announced. I liked Redskins rookie LT Trent Williams going into the April draft, but he received a contract with guarantees of $36.75 million (as the No. 4 overall pick). Is Williams really four times better than Bulaga?
- According to the Journal-Sentinel, the Packers went back down to 80 players when they released LB John Russell and DT Aleric Mullins decided to quit football. Russell was an unsigned rookie free agent and a real long shot at making the 53-man roster or the practice squad. He was one of three undrafted rookies who played defensive end in college and were trying to make the transition to outside LB for the Packers. Of those three signed in April, only LB Frank Zombo is still with the team. Mullins was signed after a tryout in April. He was projected as a late-round pick but he went undrafted after doctors detected a heart murmur. Mullins had the talent to be a starter in college, but was only a part-time player and he admitted he was an underachiever, which combined with his heart murmur, may explain why he decided to walk away from football.
- Words I thought I would never see. Greg Bedard tweets that DE Justin Harrell is "full-go. No restrictions." With the recent losses of DE Johnny Jolly and Mullins, there is certainly an opportunity waiting for him.