Training Camp Notebook: Packers Welcome Back Al Harris

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Shutdown Al

After missing the Buffalo Bills game with a quadriceps injury, the Green Bay Packers' premier shutdown corner, Al Harris, returned to practice on Monday.

"Al Harris had a great practice," head coach Mike Sherman said. "He looked like Al."

His best play of the afternoon occurred when he slapped away a Brett Favre pass intended for Antonio Chatman. After Harris forced the incompletion, defensive coordinator Jim Bates gave him a high five.

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Diggs Status Report

Linebacker Na'il Diggs does not know exactly when he will return from his MCL injury but has progressed quickly and expects to start by the regular season opener on Sept. 11.

"I'm making huge strides," he said. "There's a great chance I'll be out there for Detroit. Anything earlier would be bonus."

Diggs no longer has pain in his knee, but he lacks the necessary stability in his strained ligament. He can walk and lift weights, but that instability prevents him from cutting or running.

He concedes missing out on the repetitions in a new defense could affect his performance down the road. However, he continues to study the playbook, watch film and attend all position and team meetings.

"I'm doing everything except going out there with the pads playing," he said.

Diggs is not the only linebacker on the mend. With Ray Thompson (knee) sitting out Monday's practice, Roy Manning, Hannibal Navies and Paris Lenon took turns at outside linebacker.

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Punter Mourns Former Teammate

Punter B.J. Sander lost a former NFL Europe teammate when San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion collapsed and died after Saturday night's game against the Denver Broncos.

An autopsy performed on Sunday failed to give any answers for his death. Sander said the 330-pounder was in good shape and never had conditioning problems in Europe.

"It was a shock," Sander said.

Sander played with Herrion on the Hamburg Sea Devils. Although they played on different units, they knew each other fairly well because the entire team lived in the same hotel and ate their meals together.

"He was a good guy," Sander said.

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Deployment Of The U-71

With David Martin (groin) and Ben Steele (neck and back) injured and Bubba Franks yet two to sign a contract, the Packers only practiced with three tight ends -- Sean McHugh, Steve Fleming and Tory Humphrey.

The lack of depth could serve as a potential problem for a team that likes to employ two and three tight end sets.

"They're a very important part [of the offense]," Sherman said. "We're a little light at that position right now."

Sherman offered a couple of possible solutions. Taking advantage of the plethora of quality wide receivers in Donald Driver, Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson, the offense may use more three wide receiver sets. He also suggested the Packer will more frequently use the U-71 package, which places tackle Kevin Barry at tight end to knock smaller defenders off the ball.

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On Guard

Sherman said he expects to announce the starting guards by the end of the week.

"We're getting closer," Sherman said. "We want to make sure we do the right thing."

During Monday's practice, Matt O'Dwyer started at right guard and Adrian Klemm started at left guard. Klemm and Rookie William Whitticker started during Saturday's preseason game.

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Quick Hits: Surprised that B.J. Sander made two special teams tackles during the Bills game? Don't be. He played defensive end as well as tight end at Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. ... Sherman refuted a published report that he was on the verge of a contract extension. "Nothing's really confirmed there," Sherman said. "There's been ongoing conversation, but I have not seen, signed or done anything with a contract."... Safety Todd Franz sprained his shoulder during Saturday's preseason game and did not practice on Monday. ... Defensive coordinator Jim Bates said Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt (knees) is day-to-day. ... Sherman said Defensive tackle Donnell Washington came off the ball better against the Bills than he has in the past. ... Sherman expects Defensive tackle Grady Jackson to practice on Tuesday. ... Cornerback Joey Thomas (calf,hip) returned to practice on Monday. ... Running back Najeh Davenport did not practice on Monday because of a foot injury.

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