GREEN BAY – Before they scatter across the country on, as Antonio Freeman once famously said, “The first thing smokin’,” Mike McCarthy always sends his Green Bay Packers players off with a reminder to stay out of trouble during the five weeks between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp.
And while other teams have seen players run afoul with the law – the Denver Broncos’ Elvis Dumervil and the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch being the latest – the Packers find themselves six days away from kicking off training camp and no one has been on the police blotter.
According to McCarthy, part of that has to do with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who made it clear to his teammates after the final practice that the team could not afford the kind of distractions that come with stupid off-field behavior.
“It’s clearly your message when you finish a minicamp, and frankly, I thought Aaron Rodgers did a great job,” McCarthy said Thursday during an appearance on Green & Gold Today. “He was the call-up player for the final practice (of minicamp), and that was his message, about ‘Taking care of your business throughout these next four or five weeks.’ And I think it’s the same message every coach gives his team.”
McCarthy’s Packers certainly haven’t been perfect. Suspended defensive end Johnny Jolly’s first codeine-related arrest came in July 2008; ex-Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood was arrested in June 2010 and June 2011; and outside linebacker Erik Walden was arrested in a domestic incident after the team returned home from its Thanksgiving Day victory in Detroit.
But so far this offseason, so good.
“It is challenging,” McCarthy admitted. “We all come from a different environment. You go back home and you are with friends and family and it is over the holidays, festivities are going on and sometimes the risk for those type of incidents is definitely higher.”
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