GREEN BAY - If this were October, Jared Cook would be on the field Sunday, playing in a game.
Players battle through all sorts of bumps, bruises and even injuries during the season. It’s part of their warrior mentality. Save the surgeries for offseason.
That’s what Green Bay Packers tight end Jared Cook did. This is not the middle of October; it’s the first week of June. So Cook, the Packers lone free-agent acquisition this offseason, had a “very minor” foot surgery this week, a source confirmed to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
The procedure was considered a preventative operation. The Packers wanted to be cautious. Cook is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, a source said.
Cook was not present Thursday at the Packers’ organized team activities session that was open to the media. He had participated in the open OTA the previous week and made no mention of any health concerns when speaking with reporters.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke glowingly of Cook after that initial open OTA.
“Very, very athletic," McCarthy said. "I think any time, if you’re just talking purely throwing the football and you’ve got big targets that can move like he does, he’s been an excellent addition. He’s been everything we thought he would be. He’s done a great job of learning the new language, and he looks to get more and more comfortable each time we line up.
"So, you can see him going through the IPW (individual player workouts) phase the last couple weeks, getting more and more comfortable. But I really like what he’s done so far first two practices.
Cook signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Packers after being cut by the Rams in February. He is expected to provide speed to the tight end position, something that has been lacking in recent seasons.
Cook came to Green Bay recognizing the opportunity he will have this fall. In the Packers' offense, he could get a second chance at earning a lucrative, long-term contract. He might win a Super Bowl along the way.
No matter what, he’ll get the chance to say he caught passes from Aaron Rodgers.
“I think they understand why I’m here,” Cook said, “and what brought me here. My biggest thing is getting used to how things are run here and how Aaron does things, and certain subtle details on his cadence or certain code words that he uses. That’s the biggest thing I’m trying to get used to, is how he runs the offense as a whole.”
Now, it would appear that Cook's next opportunity to work with Rodgers on the field won't come until training camp.