Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings during better days. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Rodgers, Braun, Jennings, PUP list, drops, musical interludes ... and it's only the first day of the Packers camp

The Green Bay Packers opened training camp and their summer workout sessions by announcing that seven of their players had been sequestered on the physically unable to perform list – a pretty tough start for a team that’s supposed to be focused on keeping players healthy.

While there were those who were supposed to be on the list, one of them – Mike Neal – wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near that list. The oft-injured defensive lineman said later in the day that he expects to be removed from the list within a few days. But we’ve heard that before. Remember back a year or so ago when he suffered a knee injury that he expected to hold him up for a couple of weeks? Well, that turned into a full season and then some. Stay tuned on Neal.

With a theme of “protection, connection, reflection,” the Packers hit the field today where the unexpected (James Starks, Micah Hyde, and Alex Green looked great) met the expected (Datone Jones will find a starting job). There were fumbles and drops by rookies who may have been experiencing something called stage fright.

One of the more interesting aspects of the first day – and one that caught the attention of every reporter tweeting from camp – was the three, two-minute breaks that included music. That’s something new and a definite break from what coach Mike McCarthy has shown in the past.

Needless to say, many liked the concept.

However, the real fireworks came after today’s on-field workouts. That’s when Aaron Rodgers was asked about his friend Ryan Braun. His response was tempered and real, saying he was shocked and disappointed. So much more was said, but in the end, Rodgers showed a personal side and a sensitivity not often seen in a locker room. In addition to his comments about Braun, Rodgers didn’t sink to the level that former Packer wide receiver Greg Jennings has sunk. On the upside, Rodgers didn’t have much to say.

That’s a good thing.

All this … and it’s just the first day.

Hopefully, the Packers can get back to football and all this extraneous stuff goes away soon.

Stay tuned.


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