Green Bay has less than full pack at OTA

The SportsXchange

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers had far less than a full squad on the field for their second session of this week's OTAs on Tuesday.

Emerging cornerback Sam Shields is staying away from the voluntary spring workouts because he hasn't signed his one-year, $2.02 million tender offer from the team as a restricted free agent.

"I wish Sam was here," said head coach Mike McCarthy, clearly disappointed about his returning starter's holdout of sorts. "He's not here for his specific reasons that I'm sure if he wants to answer he can answer 'em someday. But it's about the opportunity to compete, and our secondary is very competitive. I wish he was here."

Veteran defensive tackle Johnny Jolly also is a conspicuous no-show because he still needs to iron out some particulars -- presumably of the legal kind -- to pave the way for him to try to attempt an on-field comeback after he was reinstated by the league in March following a drug-related suspension that kept him out the last three seasons.

"When Johnny's situation and his process is completed, when he gets up here, then I'll have more information for you," McCarthy said. "But he's still going through the process."

Jolly tweeted Tuesday that he would be back in Green Bay on May 28, when the Packers will hold their next public OTA session.

Several other players were on hand for Tuesday's workout of two hours that was open to fans on an outdoor practice field across from Lambeau Field, but they stood idly by as teammates went through the paces. Those sideline observers are in recovery mode from significant injuries that cut short their 2012 season.

The most notable are inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, defensive end Jerel Worthy and cornerback Davon House.

While Bishop is confident he will be cleared for the start of training camp in late July, if not get back on the field for some remaining spring work, less than a year after the starter suffered a torn hamstring in last year's preseason opener, the team continues to wait on Sherrod.

Its 2011 first-round draft pick and heir apparent at left tackle evidently isn't close to returning from a broken right leg he sustained toward the end of his rookie season.

"If I was going to rank those three as far as who's coming back earlier," said McCarthy, when asked specifically about three players, "I would say Bishop, House, and then Sherrod is clearly the furthest away."

House, thought to be a leading candidate for a starter's job at the outset of training camp last year, was riddled by shoulder and hip injuries at different points of the season.

Worthy, a second-round draft pick who showed some flashes of promise, had his rookie campaign abruptly end with a torn ACL in his left knee in the regular-season finale on Dec. 30. He's highly questionable to be back in time for the start of the 2013 season in September.

Meanwhile, the Packers suffered an OTA casualty on the first day of drills Monday. Rookie offensive tackle J.C. Tretter, an intriguing fourth-round pick out of Cornell, went down with what reportedly was a broken ankle in the non-contact work.

McCarthy on Tuesday wouldn't divulge what the injury was but said Tretter wouldn't be available for the rest of the OTAs. That would also keep Tretter out of the mandatory minicamp, which is June 4-6 and falls in the midst of the team's 10 OTA sessions that wrap up June 14.

McCarthy said this year's OTAs are structured as a review of all installations that were put in on offense, defense and special teams for the season during the individual-positions phase of the offseason program. Tuesday marked the first day of implementing team drills for Green Bay's old guard and its long list of newcomers

"I felt it was important to give the rookies a chance to adjust to the tempo of the veterans because it's different," McCarthy said after Tuesday's workout. "This is a whole different level of practice. And, I thought today was kind of typical first-time-routine-takes-the-field. It was a little disjointed. The energy was great. The intent was great. But, your team has to learn to practice together like it does every time they get together, and I think you saw some of that today. So, we'll continue to work on that, clean it up."
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