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MT5: The calm before the storm

Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO Mark Murphy 

Don Hutson Center
Don Hutson Center

On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at:

Although training camp is much different now than it was during the Lombardi era (or when I started with the Packers for that matter), it is still an important part of getting the team ready for the season. It is certainly less grueling now, but it remains a challenging time for players, both physically and mentally. The month or so before training camp is an important time for players and coaches to rest up before the grind of training camp, preseason and the regular season (and hopefully the postseason). I've always thought of it as the calm before the storm. It is the time when players and coaches take vacations. It is also the best time of year for players to get engaged (Congratulations to Jordan and Ronika) or get married as my wife, Laurie, and I did in June of 1979.

Since we open the season on Friday night, we are able to open training camp two days earlier than normal. The rookies (and select veterans) will report on July 17 and the rest of the team will report on July 21. Training camp in Green Bay is a special time of year, and it will be especially important to us this year given that we have the youngest team in the league. It should be a fun training camp and season. The highlights of training camp will include Family Night on Aug. 3, the joint practice with the Ravens on Aug. 22 and the only home preseason game on Aug. 24.

Now, on to your questions.

Steve W. from Flagstaff, AZ

Has anyone ever confused you with former Packers player Mark Steven Murphy? On another note, I as a fan appreciate your efforts you have done here with the Packers. I can't imagine the difficult decisions that have had to been made over the years, like trade away a player such as Davante, Aaron, and trade up for Jordan Love and make releases on players like Bahk and Campbell that may dismay fans. And that is just a pint size of things the organization has dealt with. I know there are others who also appreciate your work and dedication to this franchise. So, saying I wish you well in future endeavors as your time ends with the Packers and hope you find peace and serenity in whatever you do.

Yes, Mark Steven Murphy and I (Mark Hodge Murphy – Hodge is my mother's maiden name) get confused for each other all the time. We both played safety in the NFL during the same time period, had similar careers and both have connections to the Packers. Earlier in my tenure with the Packers, when I would get cards for Mark Steven, I would just sign my name and return them. When I received a letter with a card from a young boy who said he also had alopecia (a condition where hair is lost from some or all parts of the body) and asked how I dealt with it, though, I decided to forward the card and letter to Mark Steven. I knew I would not be able to answer that question! I now forward all Mark's mail to him.

A question from Dan

Hey, Murph, can I give you a "high five" for having the Packers donate to the cleanup in the bay? Read an article in DU about the restoration of the lower west end. Very nice article. Thank you for giving some Packer money to a very good cause. Thanks again.

Absolutely. Thanks, Dan. We are proud to support the local community in many different ways. The bay is one of the best assets that we have in this community, and we want to ensure that it says clean and useful.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

I would like to extend my congratulations to Ed Policy for his promotion to be your successor as President and CEO of the Green Bay Packers, and of course we will hear from him and learn much about him over the next year. I am curious if he will continue a similar forum of your Murphy Takes 5 when he assumes the helm? Inquiring minds want to know. As always, thank you Mark for all you do and godspeed with the transition to Ed and whatever your future holds. A well-deserved cheers!

Thanks, Ryan. Ed has done a great job for us during his 12 years here. I've seen tremendous growth during his tenure, and I'm confident that he will make a smooth transition to president over the next year. In terms of MT5, it will really be up to Ed about how he would like to connect with fans going forward. I've enjoyed MT5 and found that it is a great way to address issues that are important to our fans. I also think it distinguishes the Packers from the other teams in the league.

Jon from Janesville, WI

What are your thoughts about the verdict in the Sunday Ticket trial awarding the plaintiffs over $4.0B?

This was obviously big news last week, Jon. I was disappointed in the verdict and know that we will appeal the decision. I would also echo the sentiments that the league expressed in its statement: "We are disappointed with the jury's verdict today in the NFL Sunday Ticket trial class action lawsuit. We continue to believe that our media distribution strategy, which features all games broadcast on free over-the-air television in the markets of the participating teams and national distribution of our most popular games, supplemented by many additional choices including Red Zone, Sunday Ticket and NFL+, is by far the most fan friendly distribution model in all of sports and entertainment. We will certainly contest this decision as we believe that the class action claims in this case are baseless and without merit. We thank the jury for their time and service and for the guidance and oversight from Judge Gutierrez throughout the trial."

Johnny Walker from Boulder City, NV

I am curious how the league's drug testing is conducted. Is every player tested at some point during the season, or does the league pick players at random? Could a team test their own players? And would these tests then have to be reported to the league, positive or negative? I would imagine that the ethical, legal and privacy concerns of the players would be of paramount concern to the players' union. In closing, thank you for the great leadership and direction that you have provided to this revered institution. Johnny Walker – Boulder City, Nevada. Where we have the best Packer fans – by a dam site! (Hoover Dam)

Thanks for raising this question, Johnny. It is timely, as the NCAA recently announced that it would no longer test for marijuana. With regard to your questions, all of the league's drug testing is controlled by the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players. With regard to the testing, all players are tested in the preseason physical (we used to say that this is more of an IQ test than a drug test since all players should know they will be tested) and then players are randomly selected for tests after that. Clubs are not allowed to test on their own. The biggest concern in the league as it relates to drugs is the use of performance enhancing drugs that give players a competitive advantage. Thanks again, Johnny. Is your nickname Johnny Walker Red?

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