GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy has taken pride over the years in his team’s attendance for the offseason program and OTAs, which are voluntary, and this year is no different. Players might miss a day here or there, but the vast majority are on board with what needs to get done.
“Your best players need to be your best people and your most committed people to your program,” McCarthy said following Thursday’s OTA practice, the second of three open to the public and media. “We operate pretty much around 95-plus percent, and the guys do a great job committing to the nine-week program. It’s essential for us to be successful.”
QB Aaron Rodgers, LBs Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and even WR Jordy Nelson, who is not medically cleared to practice fully yet, are among the vets out at Ray Nitschke Field every day leading the way.
“Having Clay and Aaron and Jordy, that’s what they know,” McCarthy said. “They were drafted here and they understand the importance of it. Everybody else just kind of gets in line.”
Regarding Nelson, he was seen catching a few throws from Rodgers on routes off to the side. Whether Nelson will return for 11-on-11 work before training camp remains uncertain — Nelson later said in the locker room he wouldn’t — but their re-acclimation process isn’t being taken lightly.
“It’s very important for Jordy Nelson to catch the football from Aaron Rodgers,” McCarthy said. “That’s something that can’t get lost in his coming back. Jordy’s human. Aaron throws a football differently than other quarterbacks we have here. It’s important for him to get that timing, see that football come out of his hand, get his head around when the ball is in the air, that type of thing. It was good to see that process get started today.”
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