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Harrell not eligible for minicamp this weekend

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Correction: Backup quarterback Graham Harrell is not eligible for the Packers' minicamp this weekend after all. A team spokesman said that the only first-year players who are eligible for the rookie minicamp are those with no pension credits, and Harrell has pension credits even though he's only a first-year player. The distinction is, a player gains an accrued season if he spends six or more games on a team's active, inactive and reserve lists. But a player can gain a season of pension credit by being on any of those for only three games. The distinction appears to be primarily for minimum-salary purposes. The minimum salary for a first-year player is lower than that for a second-year-player, and so on. A player becomes eligible for an NFL pension when he has three years of pension credits. So, for instance, Harrell still is a first-year player because he's never been on an NFL roster for at least six games -- he was on the Packers' roster for three games in 2010 and four games last year. So as a first-year player, his minimum salary is $465,000 (the minimum for a rookie is $390,000 and for a second-year player $540,000). But he already has accrued two years toward an NFL pension, because he was on the roster for at least three games in '10 and '11.     The Packers haven't released a list of the players who will be at their rookie minicamp this weekend, but backup quarterback Graham Harrell is not eligible to participate. A team spokesman said in an email that players eligible for this camp are  rookies, first-year players who haven't accrued any pension credits, and tryout players. First-year players have played in another professional sports league, participated in an NFL training camp or never have been on an NFL team's active, inactive and reserve lists for fewer than six games in a season. But if a first-year player has accrued a pension credit for a season, then he's ineligible for minicamp. That minimum for a pension credit is only three games on the active, inactive and reserve lists. Though Harrell's last season in college football was 2009, he remains a first-year player in the NFL because he's never been on an NFL roster for six games in a season. He played in the Canadian Football League in 2009 and has spent the last two seasons mostly on the Packers' practice squad. In 2010 the Packers promoted him to their active roster for the final three games, and then last season they promoted him to their roster for the final four regular-season games. So the quarterbacks in minicamp this weekend will be seventh-round draft pick B.J. Coleman and former Arena Football League quarterback Nick Hill. The Packers will have three practices at their rookie minicamp -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All will be conducted in The Don Hutson Center and are closed to the public. Only Friday's practice will be open to reporters.

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