GREEN BAY, Wis. (June 1, 2005) -- Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt was among the missing when the Green Bay Packers opened a voluntary minicamp, and head coach Mike Sherman said he's looking at several young players as possible replacements for him.
"It's not a mandatory camp, but we expect him to be here," Sherman said. "He should have been here, and he wasn't here. So that's disappointing."
Hunt was among a handful of starters who weren't on hand for a two-hour practice in front of a couple hundred spectators at Ray Nitschke Field.
Sherman has excused quarterback Brett Favre from participating for the second straight minicamp, but Favre was expected to arrive in Green Bay and drop in on practice before playing in his annual charity softball game in Appleton.
"I think he wants to come over here and check things out a little bit and see the guys," said Sherman, who's been content to allow Favre to prepare for his 15th NFL season by working with a personal trainer at home in Mississippi.
Sherman also allowed nose tackle Grady Jackson to leave town for a short time to tend to unspecified personal matters. Sherman said Jackson should return, although the ninth-year veteran isn't expected to suit up for the remainder of minicamp because he's rehabilitating a surgically repaired knee.
Also missing were the Pro Bowl tandem of wide receiver Javon Walker and tight end Bubba Franks.
Franks isn't obligated to participate in any offseason activities because he has yet to be re-signed. The Packers designated Franks as their transition player in February to protect themselves against losing him as an unrestricted free agent without getting compensation.
Walker is remaining steadfast about not reporting until he receives an improved contract. Walker has two years left on the contract he signed as a first-round draft pick in 2002. He wants to be paid in the range of the top five receivers in the league.
The Packers fined Walker for skipping a mandatory minicamp in late April.
"I don't think it's a distraction at all. We went through half a day, and no one has mentioned his name until just right now," Sherman said as he answered reporters' questions.
"Football is an amazing thing -- you just move on. You treat it like an injury, or you treat it like he's not here, and someone else steps in."
As for Hunt's situation, Sherman said he's encouraged with the progress by a number of young defensive linemen, though second-year player Corey Williams apparently hurt his hip late in practice.
Hunt strained a hamstring on the eve of this year's first minicamp, causing him to miss all the practices.
"We're going to play with the best guys," Sherman said. "We have more numbers now (on the defensive line) than we've had in the past and certainly aren't going to be held captive by anybody. We want to move forward with guys who want to play and do their jobs.
"We have quite a few guys in that group, that fall into that category who have really worked hard this offseason. I'm really proud of those guys. ... They deserve some opportunities here, and they're going to get 'em."