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Packers take a break for second-ever 'McCarthy Olympics'

The team stepped out of its comfort zone during a skills challenge following Friday’s practice


GREEN BAY – Mike Daniels thought it was a one-time deal.

Last summer, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy surprised the team when he cancelled meetings during the final week of organized team activities to host the first-ever "McCarthy Olympics."

Players were divided into teams, with a member of the Packers' coaching staff leading each group, and sent to different stations ranging from soccer penalty kicks to a dunk tank. The event was a huge hit with veterans and rookies alike.

Now entering his seventh NFL season, Daniels figured it was just one of several previous team-building exercises the Packers have done in the past to promote camaraderie and unity.

At least that's what the Pro Bowl defensive tackle thought until he stepped into the team meeting room following Friday's practice at Nitschke Field. After a short video, McCarthy informed the team it was time for round two.

"I just started laughing because we had so much fun last year," Daniels said. "I was excited to see a bunch of professional athletes do sports that they are not professionals at, and actually quite bad at, me being one of them. I was really excited. We had a lot of fun last year and right now we're not disappointed. The fun definitely ranks up there."

Following similar rules as last year, the Packers' 90-man roster was split up into teams, paired with a coach they don't normally work with on a daily basis and given a shirt to represent their team. Those paired with offensive run-game coordinator/offensive line coach James Campen had the privilege of wearing tie-dyed, "Team Campen" shirts.

Along with the dunk tank and penalty kicks, this year's competitions included virtual long drive, closest to the pin, deep throw, throwing footballs at targets (stationary and moving carts), pitching baseballs at targets, tossing bean bags, 3-point shooting, free throws and lawn darts.

To eliminate comparative advantages, the quarterbacks had to throw left-handed in some events, while kicker Mason Crosby was required to kick with his left foot.

While Crosby said his short game was a little spotty in the closest-to-the-pin competition, the golf aficionado still takes pride in having one of the longest drives during last year's event.

"Obviously, you get out of that football/meeting/practice mode and come out here and do something that maybe you're a little uncomfortable with, something that isn't the norm," Crosby said. "It's awesome that Coach does this because this week leading up to Family Night is the hardest week of camp. Guys are getting drained and need a little pick-me-up and it's fun laughing and having a good time with the guys outside of the facility here."

Players and coaches compete at golf, soccer Friday afternoon.

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