On the Packers calendar today, the U.S. Youth Soccer Association Midwest Regional Championships will be holding their Opening Ceremonies inside Lambeau Field today where LeRoy Butler will be part of the entertainment after the ceremonies…
Former Packers offensive lineman Fuzzy Thurston had much of his football memorabilia seized by the government, including his rings from Super Bowls I and II, to help pay off $1.7 million in back taxes. “According to documents filed in U.S. District Court’s Western District, the government had hoped to sell more than just one of Thurston’s rings,” report Scott Venci and Paul Srubas of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “A court order dated last week calls for the sale of rings from Super Bowl I and II, NFL championship rings from 1958, 1961, 1962 and 1965, other sports memorabilia and a gold watch.” His Super Bowl II ring will be sold at auction on Aug. 4 in Rosemont, Ill. While he’s obviously had his financial problems, most people know Thurston as a kind man. It’s especially sad to see, because every time he would take a picture with a fan, Thurston would always make it a point to show off his Super Bowl ring.
Offensive line coach James Campen was interviewed for a feature article at the Packers official website where he spoke about one of his challenges for the upcoming 2011 season. “We want to be able to run the ball,” said Campen. “The run game allows you to do more things and be balanced in your offense. We want to get it going early instead of late, like last year.” As sure as the sun rises in the east, someone will invariably talk about establishing the run every year. It’s destined to happen from now until eternity. But as long as Mike McCarthy is at the helm, it will likely always be a pass-first offense.
Former Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman, who took part in the NFL’s Broadcast Boot Camp this week, is profiled in a Fox Sports Wisconsin article about the numerous charitable works he does in retirement. As just one example, Bill Huber writes, “At his old elementary school in his hometown of Baltimore, he challenged 75 fourth- and fifth-grade boys to read 30 books during the school year. All 75 did, and he honored them with a surprise pizza party and tickets to a Washington Wizards basketball game.” He’s also heavily involved in his support of the military, including two trips to Iraq, as part of a USO tour.
Fourth-round draft choice Davon House was honored by the New Mexico State Board of Regents at their annual summer meeting on Thursday for his accomplishments as a student athlete. “He left NM State as a two-time first team All-WAC selection and ended his career with the Aggies ranked sixth all-time in interceptions for a career with 11 and first in interception return yardage with 319,” writes KTSM-TV reporter Aaron Rich. “He returned three interceptions for a touchdown in his career, while tallying 198 tackles, 46 pass break-ups and three fumble recoveries. In 2010, House led the team with two interceptions, 57 tackles and 10 pass break-ups.” House faces a challenge in Green Bay where he’ll find it difficult to find playing time with guys like Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields all at cornerback.
Former Ohio State quarterback Terelle Pryor, who is entering the NFL’s Suppplemental Draft, is being mentored by a person with ties to the Packers. “A longtime league general manager and personnel director — and the father of Green Bay Packers assistant director of college scouting Shaun Herock — is the founder of ProPrep, a service that prepares draft-eligible players for interviews with potential NFL suitors,” writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. “[Ken] Herock does not rehearse players for the interviews, but in one-on-one sessions with prospects, counsels them about what to expect in meetings with club executives. The bulk of his work occurs in the weeks preceding the annual February Scouting Combine workouts.” No where is it being implied the Packers have more interest in Pryor than any other NFL team, but presumably, they’ll have plenty of information available to them to decide whether or not to pursue Pryor in July’s Supplemental Draft.
A preview of the Packers is written by Tom Silverstein for the Sporting News website, where he focused on the players coming off injured reserve. “Give them a healthy Jermichael Finley, Morgan Burnett, Ryan Grant, Nick Barnett, Mike Neal, Brandon Chillar and Brad Jones, and they’ll be as content as a fantasy football player with the No. 1 overall pick,” writes Silverstein. Talent alone won’t help the Packers, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Commenting on Silverstein’s preview is Monty McMahon of Total Packers, who cautions against issues coming from within the organization. “The problem facing the coaching staff and organization is keeping distractions to a minimum,” writes McMahon. “More so than in past seasons (with the exception of the Brett Favre fiasco), those distractions could be coming from inside.” Silverstein writes about keeping egos in check, and certainly that will be a necessity, but McCarthy has shown to be pretty adept at doing that so far.
Total Packers also takes a look at the Packers predicted unrestricted free agents and their likelihood of returning. I thought the entry on safety Anthony Smith was noteworthy who Monty McMahon has at a 75% chance of coming back. “Smith is nothing more than a backup, but he’s a decent insurance policy,” writes McMahon. “He won’t cost much and the Packers won’t have much competition for his services. Smith plays better in the 3-4 than the 4-3, so that somewhat limits his options. He also seemed to say he plans to return to Green Bay and expects a deal when the lockout ends on Twitter.” The reason I bring up Smith is because Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com says he’s unlikely to return to the Packers. I’m more inclined to agree with McMahon here. I’m not saying Smith is lock for a roster spot, but there seems to be little hurt in signing him to a contract and letting him compete for a job.
An exhibit on Bob Hope is coming this fall to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Former Packer Matt Bowen breaks down film of quarterback Matt Flynn at the National Football Post.
Aaron Rodgers and his escapability are the topic of an article at Packer Report (subscription required).
The zone blitz and its merits, including specific mention of B.J. Raji’s interception return for a T.D. against the Bears, is debated by Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.
A dig at B.J. Raji coming from Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett is noticed by Michael Rodney of Packer Update.
Pictures from Nick Collins’ youth football camp are at Elite Sports and PR.
Cullen Jenkins is the topic of conversation over at Acme Packing Company.
Count Brandon Benson of Acme Packing Company as one who’s glad the Packers aren’t playing in London.
The Packers get some attention from a betting standpoint by Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post.
Greg Jennings and the NFL Network’s Top 100 list are discussed by Amanda Lawson of Aerys Sports.
Brian Carriveau is the editor of the Maple Street Press Packers Annual. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.