On the Packers calendar today is the American Century Championship golf tournament where play gets underway. Aaron Rodgers, A.J. Hawk, Mason Crosby and former Packers Sterling Sharpe and Jim McMahon are taking part…
The word on the street is that progress was made on the NFL labor front yesterday. “Four people familiar with the negotiations say NFL players and owners have made significant progress on rookie contracts, which has been a major stumbling block in the latest round of labor talks,” according to Barry Wilner of the Associated Press. Whether it’s coincidence that progress was made since Packers president Mark Murphy joined the negotiations is up for debate. Fellow AP writer Howard Fendrich noted Murphy’s attendance at the meetings. At least things seem headed in the right direction as the lockout appears headed for a close.
In a related story, Mark Murphy made news when a group of retired NFL players sent the league a letter that asked to be part of the negotiations. “In it, the players refer to a letter they received from Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Packers CEO Mark Murphy that said improving benefits and retirement plans were a ”top priority,’” reports Dave Campbell of the Associated Press. The retired players have felt left out of the negotiations and would like to see improved pensions, among other things, as part of a new collective bargaining agreement. Whether their wish will be granted is another story.
On the topic of retired players, former Packers running back Darrell Thompson filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL yesterday. “A former Green Bay Packers running back filed a class-action lawsuit against the National Football League, claiming it made unauthorized use of retired players’ images to promote the league and generate revenue,” reports Gene Cherry of Reuters. Take that for what you will.
It appears that safety Morgan Burnett is at the center of some NCAA violations at Georgia Tech where he went to college. Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette made note of another report: “CBSSports.com blogger Brett McMurphy has reported that Georgia Tech will vacate its 2009 ACC championship due to the use of ineligible players, including Packers safety Morgan Burnett,” writes Copeland. I doubt much more will become of this. Vacating wins is a joke.
Rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb is the topic of a blog post by Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who interviewed Kentucky wide receivers coach Tee Martin for the article. “He’ll mold into the type of receiver they already have,” Martin said of Cobb. “Green Bay has a core of hard-working, tough guys that make plays and are exotic in what they do. I think he’ll fit right in.” I wouldn’t have expected Martin to say anything different.
Wide receiver Chastin West gets some attention in an article appearing at Packer Report (subscription required). ”West was disappointed that he didn’t make the final roster last year and is eager to show that his time on the practice squad was time well spent,” writes Bill Huber. Even if West has improved, he still faces an uphill battle to win a roster spot this season. He would have to unseat Brett Swain for the no. 5 wide receiver spot, which would probably include a lot of special teams duty.
Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings are listed as future stars of the NFC North by the division’s blogger, Kevin Seifert, of ESPN.com. Of Matthews he writes, “We know this: Matthews is off to one of the best career starts of any pass-rushing linebacker. He had 17 sacks in his first 20 NFL games and overall has 23.5 in his first two seasons.” Tramon Williams and B.J. Raji also get honorable mention.
Marco Rivera and Jerry Kramer talk shop about the offensive line in an article appearing at Packer Report.
In more Jerry Kramer news, his spat with quarterback Drew Brees gets some attention at ESPN.com’s NFC North blog.
Whether the Packers can be a dominant team this decade is pondered by Kareem Copeland.
An interview with Mark Murphy appears at the Packers official website previewing this year’s shareholders meeting.
Special teams and its impact on the last year’s Super Bowl season is discussed by Packers broadcaster Wayne Larrivee.
An article about kicker Mason Crosby comes out of the American Century golf tournament.
A few pictures from the ESPYs are posted at Total Packers.
A column on safety Charlie Peprah is posted at Packer Update.
Vote for the Packers’ hypothetical 4X100 relay team at ESPN.com.
A list of undrafted free agents the Packers might be interested in appears at AllGreenBayPackers.com.
The offensive line is post-worthy at Acme Packing Company.
Vic Ketchman answers his mailbag at Packers.com.
Training camp is the topic du jour at Packer Chatters.
The NFL Network’s top 100 list makes yet another appearance at Lombardi Ave.
Brian Carriveau is the editor of the Maple Street Press Packers Annual. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.