Green & Gold


Packers apply to host NFL Draft

The Green Bay Packers would like to host the NFL Draft in the league’s smallest market.

Team President Mark Murphy told stockholders at their annual meeting Thursday that the Packers have applied to host the draft in 2019, 2020 or 2021. The last two drafts have been held in Chicago after years of being held in New York City.

Murphy said hotel rooms could be an issue, though many fans attending Packers games typically stay within an hour’s drive of Lambeau Field, or even more than two hours away in Milwaukee. The Packers had also applied to host next year’s draft, Murphy told reporters after the meeting, though he indicated that Green Bay wasn’t a contender.

Players report for training camp on Monday, but the league is always planning ahead. The NFL plans to play a season-opening game in China in 2018, though it appears that the Packers aren’t interested in taking part.


Rodgers expected to return to form

Aaron Rodgers will embark upon his 12th season with one Super Bowl appearance on his resumé and coming off his worst year at the helm of the Green Bay Packers.

For all his marvelous regular-season performances and statistical achievements, Rodgers bears his share of responsibility for the five-year championship drought in the NFL’s smallest city.

Rodgers is the face of the franchise, one with a stable front office and coaching staff unified in providing him with everything needed to sustain a prolific offense and win titles.

Again, the Packers are one of the Super Bowl favorites. This will be the eighth straight season they’ve had the wherewithal to win it all, and the mere presence of Rodgers is a major reason why.

Clearly, however, it would require the return of Rodgers to his form of 2008 through 2014, when his passer rating never ranked lower than sixth, and not of 2015, when his career-low mark of 92.7 ranked an unsightly 15th.


Matthews, Peppers to be questioned by NFL

Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and James Harrison will be interviewed next month by NFL officials in connection to a media report that linked them to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

A letter from NFL executive Adolpho Birch that was obtained Friday by The Associated Press says Green Bay linebackers Matthews and Peppers and Pittsburgh linebacker Harrison will be interviewed when training camps open. The Packers begin practicing on July 26, the Steelers on July 29.

The letter also mentions defensive lineman Mike Neal, a free agent who will be interviewed. It does not mention the now-retired Peyton Manning, who also was cited in Al-Jazeera’s doping report in December.

But USA Today, citing an unnamed source, reported that an investigation into Manning’s possible involvement also is progressing.


15 Packers vets excused from camp

A familiar face was missing in the gym when quarterback Brett Hundley went for a workout.

It was a little odd not having Aaron Rodgers around while most of the rest of the Green Bay Packers were toiling away at minicamp.

He’s no high-profile holdout — Rodgers has been excused, along with 14 other Packers veterans, from minicamp this week. It is part of coach Mike McCarthy’s plan to give some of the team’s key older players some extra rest with a longer-than-usual training camp coming up in July.

“Yeah, I felt really lonely. Usually (Rodgers and I) will work out together, and I didn’t have my guy right there next to me. So, pretty lonely,” Hundley said, tongue-in-cheek.

Coaches will harp on the work that the team has already gone through earlier in the offseason program, so minicamp is “obviously tailored toward our younger players,” McCarthy said Tuesday.


Shields making way back from concussion

Sam Shields has played through an injured shoulder, an injured calf, a hurt shin and injured ankles — twice.

He’s survived the dreaded hamstring injury and has banged up his knee, but in 90 NFL games in six NFL seasons, the Green Bay cornerback says the worst injury he’s ever had was a concussion.

Shields explained this after an off-season practice this week — making it the first time he’s talked extensively in months about his injury and recovery. The concussion he suffered on Dec. 13 in the Packers game against Dallas caused him to black out on the field and caused headaches so bad that he missed three regular-season games at the end of the 2015 season and the NFC Wild Card game on Jan. 10.

“When I went out there to try to work out at first, I still felt it in my head,” Shields said. “Just running, doing physical things, your brain’s moving. That’s your head, your brain. It’s real scary.”


Source: Cook has foot surgery

The Green Bay Packers appear to be playing it safe with a minor injury to new acquisition Jared Cook.

The tight end had minor foot surgery that will keep him out for the rest of offseason workouts, a person familiar with the injury told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not released details of the injury.

The procedure was considered preventative and Cook should be ready when training camp begins in late July. first reported Cook’s injury. The person said Cook could have played through it if the Packers were in season.

Cook signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal with Green Bay after spending the last three seasons with St. Louis. He had 39 catches for 481 yards last season and did not catch a touchdown.


Cobb eager to rebound after subpar season

Randall Cobb can’t prove it, but he believes wearing a microphone during the Packers’ playoff game at Arizona led to the punctured lung that knocked him out of the season-ending defeat.

“I’ll never be mic’d up again,” Cobb said following Thursday’s workouts.

During the first quarter of the game against the Cardinals, Cobb made a leaping catch and landed on his back. A penalty eliminated the 49-yard gain and Cobb was taken to a hospital, where he stayed overnight.

“I’ve never had a problem with it before,” Cobb said. “Possibly, it was just the way I landed. I landed flush on my back with the battery pack on. You probably won’t land too often like that but unfortunately the one time I did, I had a bad injury from it.”


Recognized off field, Barrington key to team’s plans

Steadying himself on a boat, Sam Barrington gripped tightly on the fishing rod and went to work last month.

Snaring a 400-pound shark isn’t exactly child’s play. By comparison, tackling a 220-pound NFL running back would seemingly be an easy catch for the Green Bay inside linebacker.

Between the fish stories and his acclaimed charitable contributions, Barrington has had a memorable year off the field. On the field, there is plenty of time for Barrington to prove how much he has recovered from a right foot injury that sidelined him for most of last season.

“I’m on path with everything they’ve got lined up for me,” Barrington said this week when asked if he’d be ready for minicamp next month. “I’m just grateful that I haven’t had any setbacks.”


Time running out for Kuhn deal

There remains “mutual interest” between the Green Bay Packers and fullback John Kuhn for the 2016 season, but no definitive date for when a deal might be made, according to an NFL source.

Conversations are ongoing between the Packers and their three-time Pro Bowl fullback. The door remains open that Kuhn could play a 10th season with the Packers this fall, even though he remains unsigned with organized team activities looming.

While the Packers have moved on from other free agents such as receiver James Jones and outside linebacker Mike Neal, Kuhn’s locker remains intact inside Lambeau Field. Kuhn, who turns 34 in September, has been working out daily and hopes to play at least one more season with the Packers, the source said.


More homework for Packers' 1st-round pick

Packers first-round draft pick Kenny Clark will have more homework to do as he finishes up classes at UCLA.

The defensive tackle won’t be able to start his new career full-time in Green Bay until classes back in Los Angeles finish up next month. He was just starting to read up on the playbook, too, during the team’s two-day rookie orientation camp last week.

“I think probably the playbook and getting the playbook down and just trying to learn things on the fly,” Clark said about the toughest part of the rookie learning curve.

Not that Clark minds going back to school, either. His goal is to graduate, which the junior estimated will take another year, at least, to accomplish.

Professionally, the goal is to help fill the gap in the middle of the left by the departure of run-stuffer B.J. Raji. The veteran said earlier in the offseason that he was taking a one-year “hiatus” from the game.


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