When the Green Bay Packers open their annual post-draft mini-camp next week, Mike McKenzie may or may not be there.
Meeting with members of the Wisconsin media Wednesday, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said there were no developments to report in regard to negotiations with the disgruntled cornerback, who requested a trade from the team two weeks ago.
"Where things stand hasn't changed significantly since the last time I talked about it," Sherman said, "and the statement I made then was that he and I talked and that's basically where it stands. Nothing's been resolved."
According to several reports, McKenzie is unhappy with his current contract, which he signed in 2002, but doesn't expire until 2006.
How the Packers will respond to McKenzie's demand is unclear, but Sherman stopped short of saying that the request will alter the team's moves this weekend in the NFL Draft.
"I'm not going to keep my head in the sand," Sherman said. "Obviously, I don't have a crystal ball on the final verdict in regards to Mike's status, but you move forward and we have to move forward ...
"This is business. It's a business situation that we're involved in right now. And we have to continue to do business at 1265 Lombardi (Ave.), with or without Mike."
On The Mend
Chris Johnson isn't expected to take part in any team drills in the Packers' upcoming mini-camp, but the 2003 seventh-round draft pick has made progress in his attempt to return from a knee injury that sidelined him for all of last season.
The University of Louisville alumnus, who was the first of four players selected by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2003 draft, tore his patella tendon in an August practice amid what had been an impressive preseason in which he earned a team-high four passes defensed in just three exhibitions.
"I don't want to say we're out of the dark just yet in regard to Chris," Sherman said. "But he has made some significant progress.
"A couple of weeks ago he worked and had a couple setbacks with some swelling, which is expected. But these next couple of weeks will be the telltale sign."
According to Sherman, Johnson has been performing very well doing straight-on running, but has only just begun to test with lateral movement, which places more stress on the knee.
Sherman said there was a "good possibility" that Johnson could participate in the Packers' June mini-camp.
At this point it seems unlikely that the Packers will work a deal to acquire Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch prior to this weekend's draft, but that doesn't mean that negotiations have reached an end.
Sherman said that there's still the possibility a deal could be made to acquire the veteran, who was the first overall selection of the 1999 draft, but is likely on his way out of town in Cleveland.
"There's no sense of urgency, I guess, on either party right now to just finalize any particular deal," Sherman said. "We are in negotiation. We are working through some things, talking through with discussions with Tim's agent, and hopefully we can come to some type of agreement with him. But when you're dealing with multiple parties like we're dealing with, an agent and a team, it can get complicated."
Couch made an official visit to Packers headquarters earlier this month and expressed a desire to play for the team. Before that can happen, however, the Packers would not only need to work a trade with the Browns, but also come to terms on a new contract with Couch.
"To get three parties on the same page is not all that easy," Sherman said.
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