GREEN BAY – It’s not Jordy Nelson’s surgically repaired knee that is keeping him out of training camp, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers have not yet spoken to the NFL regarding the PED investigation, and Eddie Lacy is still on track with his conditioning.
That’s the upshot of all the hot-button issues touched upon after the Packers’ first practice of camp on Tuesday.
Nelson was one of six players placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list for the start of camp, but he calmed any fears that his delayed return might be due to a setback in his ACL rehab.
“It’s not the ACL,” Nelson said. “No one needs to freak out.”
Instead, it’s “something minor” with his other knee that is keeping him out of practice for the time being, and he said he’ll be medically cleared at some point during camp, he’s just not sure when.
“Our end goal is still the same. We’ll be ready for the regular season,” Nelson said. “There’s just a little hiccup with the other leg, and we’re not worried about it.”
As for how much playing time in the preseason he’ll need to get ready after missing all of 2015, Nelson said he isn’t sure. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers quipped it should only take “a couple days” for him and Nelson to re-establish their on-field chemistry.
Off the field, Matthews and Peppers have not yet spoken with NFL investigators regarding a since-retracted Al Jazeera report regarding PED use. The league had announced that players named in the report would be interviewed on the first day of training camp, but there’s been resistance from the players’ union to make the players available.
Both Matthews and Peppers said they’re letting the NFL and the players’ association settle their differences, and they both stand by their initial denials of the report from last winter.
“It’s bogus, and it’s kind of annoying that I have to continue to deal with this, but the truth will come out,” Matthews said. “I’ll just try to put that in the rear-view mirror and focus on the season.”
Both players, fully confident in their innocence, believe that won’t be difficult to do.
“I don’t think it’ll be a distraction,” Peppers said, denying it’s been any sort of “dark cloud” hanging over him. “We’re just trying to focus on camp and getting ready to play games, not nonsense.”
Retired quarterback Peyton Manning, also named in the report, was cleared recently of any wrongdoing by NFL investigators, so Matthews and Peppers believe it’s only a matter of time for them as well.
“Hopefully we all fall in line with similar exonerations,” Matthews said. “Like I said in the past, I have nothing to hide, so it’s not an issue for me one way or another.”
Lacy once again addressed the ongoing story of his conditioning. After OTAs and minicamp, he resumed his workouts with P90X founder Tony Horton in California, and he believes he remains on the right track.
“Do I look like I lost a few pounds over the summer?” Lacy asked. “We can go with that.”
No specifics were given, and they won’t be coming from Lacy or Head Coach Mike McCarthy, who both said they’re done talking about it. As mentioned in the spring, the process is not finished, but more progress has been made.
For Lacy, it’s all about bouncing back from what he called “a bad year” in 2015.
“Just sticking to the plan and not straying away from it,” he said. “There’s always work to be done, no matter what.”
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