GREEN BAY – Packers defensive lineman Justin Harrell was not present at this morning's training camp practice reportedly due to the birth of his child.
Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote on Twitter:
Harrell's wife had a baby last night so his absence could solely be for that.
As could be expected, Harrell and his problematic back gave observers cause for concern. Harrell sat out of Tuesday's practice after saying he woke up that morning with back soreness.
According to Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, head coach Mike McCarthy said Harrell would have returned to practice today had it not been for personal reasons.Vandermause wrote on Twitter:
McCarthy: Harrell excused from practice for personal matter. Would have practiced today.
Harrell told Cheesehead TV on Tuesday that he would return to practice today. Whether or not he returns to practice tonight remains to be seen.
If Harrell returns to the practice field as soon as he comes back to the team, it would assuage many concerns about his balky back, which has limited him to 13 games in his three-year professional career. He missed the entire '09 season due to a herniated disc in his back.
The veteran defensive lineman is in a battle to make the 53-man roster, but must show he will not be a liability. Harrell must show the Packers he is not a liability, because if they keep him around, they are going to have to cut someone else.
Harrell has generally been working in a rotation among the defensive line, although he has been part of the team's No. 1 line in the "Hippo" goal line and short-yardage formation, at least during practice.
Prior to Tuesday, Harrell had not shown any indication that his back had been bothering. Aside from pulling out of one practice due to heat-related issues, he had taken part in every practice for the first three weeks and played in the first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.
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