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Cheese Curds, 1/7: Packers' playoff captains chosen, Nelson joins catch committee

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There are few surprises (if any) among the Green Bay players' choices for their official leaders, while an injured receiver gets to weigh in on one of the NFL's most debated sections of the rulebook.

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On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers will return to practice, hoping to get a few more players back to work as they prepare for their playoff game in Washington on Sunday. Left tackle and cornerback still remain major question marks at this point, as David Bakhtiari and Sam Shields continued to sit out on Wednesday.

In the meantime, the team elected their captains for this year's playoffs. The Packers rotate their captaincy each week of the regular season, but lock in two members of each unit (offense, defense, and special teams) during the postseason.

Meanwhile, one injured Packer is joining an NFL group that is setting out to continue to refine one of the most controversial parts of the sport's rulebook. The fact that he is the only active player in that group speaks to the respect that he holds across the league.

Check out all that and much more in today's curds.

Packers elect playoff captains | Packers.com
This year's captains are Aaron Rodgers and John Kuhn, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and Mason Crosby and Chris Banjo.

For Micah Hyde, it's a season of unhappy punt returns | JSOnline.com
Hyde's average punt return yardage this year (5.8) is less than half of his average in 2013 (12.3) and just over one-third of his average from 2014 (15.8).

Longtime attendant keeps Packers on their toes, works his way into hearts - ESPN
This is a great story about Andy Gruber, who has worked for the Packers since 1994 and has befriended everyone from Reggie White to Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and everyone in between.

Jordy Nelson could adhere to rule he helps shape | 247sports.com
Dez Bryant wanted to be on the committee that helps re-define the catch rule, but he won't be. Instead, Nelson is going to be the only current player on the committee, which will include numerous other former players and coaches.

2015 PFF All-Pro Team | NFL | Pro Football Fcous
The Packers got one player on the second team (left guard Josh Sitton) and they landed a couple more players with honorable mentions: right guard T.J. Lang and defensive tackle Mike Daniels.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire Lovie Smith - NFL.com
This makes very little sense to us on the surface. The Bucs improved from 2-14 in 2014 to 6-10 this year. Smith, who is of course a defensive-minded coach, had Tampa in the top 10 in yards allowed this year, but they were a bottom-10 squad in points allowed.

Calvin Johnson stirs speculation that he might want to retire - SBNation.com
Could Megatron really pull a Barry Sanders? For Johnson, it would not be so much about frustration with his team's direction, but rather the physical toll that football has taken on him over the last decade.