Kenny Clark's return to Packers practice boosts hopes he can return against Saints
GREEN BAY - Wide receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) did not practice for a second straight day, but the Green Bay Packers received good news when nose tackle Kenny Clark was cleared to practice in pads Thursday.
It marks the first time Clark has been on the field since exiting the season opener against Minnesota in the second quarter. Clark sat out the Detroit game and worked out on the side in the Don Hutson Center on Wednesday.
Clark joined his teammates and participated in all the individual drills his teammates did during the part of practice open to the media. The team goes into 11-on-11 drills after the media leaves and so it’s not known if Clark did anything more.
It’s a promising sign for the defense, but it does not mean Clark will definitely play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Packers may be gradually bringing him back. They practiced tackle Billy Turner on a Thursday before the season opener but held him out of the next two games and could be using a similar approach with Clark.
If Clark can return, it would provide a huge boost to the defense, which has looked shaky the first two weeks of the season. Clark is arguably the most valuable player on defense and his presence would mean a lot heading into another key NFC matchup.
Last week, Tyler Lancaster and Kingsley Keke handled most of the nose tackle duties. The Lions rushed 21 times for 89 yards and quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked four times.
Adams’ absence doesn’t necessarily mean he is out this week. The veteran has two more days to get ready for the game and even if he doesn’t practice, he could still play Sunday night.
Less promising news for the Packers is that rookie tight end Josiah Degaura (ankle) was held out of practice after taking part on a limited basis Wednesday. If he were on track to play Sunday, he probably would have been practicing.
The only other player to miss practice was tight end Marcedes Lewis, who usually gets a veteran’s rest day each week.
Saints to have 750 fans at game
Originally, the Saints had hoped Sunday night’s game would have been their first to have fans in the Superdome and sent season-ticket holders a note Sept.1 saying as much. But, due to continuing concerns over the spread of COVID-19 at mass gatherings, only 750 family members of players and staff will be allowed into the game.
The Superdome can seat more than 74,000.
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The Packers opened the season in Minnesota with no fans, and the Packers once again will catch a break in atmosphere as a road team headed to play in another indoor venue long considered a difficult road environment.
“Well, yeah. It definitely makes it more challenging for the offense especially when you’re going into places that are known to be extremely loud where it’s hard to communicate,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said Thursday. “But I think a lot of visiting teams right now are catching breaks.”
Packers expressed interest in Harrison
ESPN reported veteran defensive lineman Damon “Snacks” Harrison has decided to play in 2020 and will visit the Seattle Seahawks. Harrison tweeted in the last month that the Packers reached out to his representation in the offseason in some form.
Harrison, 31, was cut by the Detroit Lions on Feb. 25 just six months after the club gave him a year extension on an original 5-year, $46.25 million deal he signed with the New York Giants in 2016. He played just over two years for the Giants, making the Pro Bowl in 2016, before being dealt to the Lions in 2018. His acquisition helped boost the Lions run defense markedly.
In 2019 however, Harrison did not participate in offseason activities and when he did return he was placed on the non-football injury list. He ultimately received a 1-year, $11 million extension on top of the years left of his original Giants deal and played 15 games last year.
In his eight-year career, which began with the New York Jets in 2012, the run stuffer has 11 career sacks and 37 tackles for loss.