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Morning roundup: The Curious Case of Mike Neal

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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First there were the injuries and now the suspension. Through it all Mike Neal has gotten off to the best training camp of a career that's seen him play in just nine regular-season games in two NFL seasons after being the Green Bay Packers' second-round pick in 2010. Now the oft-injured defensive end has proclaimed himself healthy and ready to play. Except for one fine detail, he can't — at least not until Week 5 of the regular season because of the four-game suspension he received this offseason for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. He said he took the attention-deficit-disorder perscription drug Adderall without notifying the league. In his Monday story, Press-Gazette reporter Rob Demovsky looks into how Neal and  fellow defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who was suspended for the first eight games of the season for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, could help improve the team's 32nd-ranked defense from a year ago. "The 6-foot-3, 294-pound Neal has flashed some of the power that the Packers fell in love with before the 2010 draft," writes Demovsky. "They haven’t seen much of it because of all the time he has missed. In his rookie training camp, he strained an abdominal muscle and injured a rib that kept him out the first three weeks of the regular season. He played two games in which he posted five tackles and a sack before he tore up his right shoulder on Oct. 10, 2010 and missed the rest of the season." Here's a look at some of the other stories to come out of Monday's practice: *Press-Gazette sports editor Mike Vandermause takes a look at center Jeff Saturday and how he stays with the times both on and off the field despite being 37 years old and a 14-year NFL veteran. *Second-year linebacker Jamari Lattimore added 13 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame this offseason with a little help from his girlfriend's cooking and motivation to keep his spot on the Packers' roster. This year, he's also switching from outside to inside in the Packers' 3-4 defense. *With more than 19 players occupying the team's injury list, Packers coach Mike McCarthy shut down Monday's practice after less than two hours, writes Press-Gazette reporter Pete Dougherty. “What we did tonight, we practiced everything that was new and installed,” McCarthy said. “The mental part of the installation frankly in my opinion is the most important. We’ve done and extensive amount of work in the fundamentals, clearly more than we ever have in the past. I felt good about the targets we hit with our fundamental work. It’s important to get it rehearsed and now (Tuesday) we will work on San Diego.” The Packers play the Chargers on Thursday night, and McCarthy ruled out eight players for the game: running back Du’uane Bennett (knee), guard Ray Dominguez (ankle), receiver Tori Gurley (groin), fullback Jon Hoese (hamstring), receiver Greg Jennings (concussion), tight end Eric Lair (knee), tackle Mike McCabe (hip) and tight end Ryan Taylor (concussion). *In our Packers "Insider," Demovsky gives a thumps-up to the play of linebacker Desmond Bishop since returning from a calf injury while throwing a thumbs-down to the Packers' inability to convert on their two-point plays on Monday.

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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