Dodgeball Precedes Week Of Serious Work

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With a long Week 4 of training camp ahead and no game until next Monday, Head Coach Mike McCarthy felt the players needed a break from the daily grind of practice and a chance to do some team-building.

The solution? Dodgeball.

Instead of practicing Tuesday morning for what was going to be the last of eight two-a-day workouts, the Packers held a dodgeball tournament in the gymnasium of the team facility.

The players let loose and worked up a sweat, and the intensity was evident in the verbal sparring over some controversial rule interpretations, but all-in-all it was a fun competition that kept things loose before the busy week ahead.

"I think you need something like this to just relax, take the stress off," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "It's been a long camp already."

Rodgers was arguably the star of the tournament as Brett Favre's top draft choice and a key player in Favre's team taking the championship. The players were drafted into eight teams captained by Favre, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Al Harris, Donald Driver, Rob Davis, Mark Tauscher, Ahman Green and Charles Woodson.

In the semifinal match between Favre's and Driver's teams, Rodgers was the lone player left facing five opponents and managed to pull off the comeback to advance to the final against Tauscher's squad, which beat Green's in the other semifinal.

"Last year my team was one-and-done, so it's exciting to get the victory this year," Rodgers said. "Obviously we have a superior team, and we just weren't going to be stopped."

Deflecting some of the credit, Rodgers felt the best overall performance went to his teammate, offensive line coach Joe Philbin, who over the past two years has established a reputation as a savvy dodgeball player.

The championship match came down to two quarterbacks, Rodgers and Ingle Martin for Tauscher's team, and Rodgers caught one of Martin's missiles on the fly, ending the game and setting off a celebration for Favre's team.

"I'm pretty sure we get no curfew the rest of camp, which is a big deal because we're not in the dorms anymore," Rodgers said jokingly. "It should be sweet."

Joke or not, the players aren't likely to do anything extravagant tonight, because the team returns to practice at 6:30 p.m. for a full-pads workout, followed by single practices Wednesday through Saturday.

"As far as preparation, this is a big week for us in a lot of ways because there are a number of things we need to answer and a number of things we need to get ready for," McCarthy said. "We're going to take the next two days to prepare for Chicago, and then we'll start on Thursday preparing for Cincinnati."

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