The Green Bay Packers continued their annual tradition of forgoing a minicamp practice in favor of a team-building excursion on Wednesday.
This year's exercise took the Packers clay shooting at Little Creek Lodge in Little Suamico. Offensive and defensive players were mixed and sorted into small groups with a few other coaches. The groups traveled station-to-station in golf carts with each area staffed by police officers.
It's not the first time the Packers have gone clay shooting. In 2012, Packers coach Mike McCarthy drew the ire of former Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who criticized the team for wasting a practice day to take players skeet-shooting.
When asked Tuesday, McCarthy said he believes the opportunity for players to get to know each other on a more personal level was more important than the missed day of practice.
"Because to me, people win, people lose," McCarthy said. "The opportunity that our players (had Wednesday), they'll be in groups of four, maybe five, and there'll be guys that ride in a cart with Aaron Rodgers or with someone they've never really had a conversation with. So it's all, this is about culture, it's about developing the bonding between your players and coaches and support staff. So it's very important."
McCarthy told the team's website that it's the third time they've traveled to Little Creek for team-bonding festivities. In a photo gallery, players also played horseshoes and ate a catered lunch.
The Packers have participated in an assortment of activities in recent years, including bowling, golfing and even dodgeball two years ago.
"This is awesome. This is a great time to get out here with your teammates, really put football away for a day and just have fun with each other," veteran fullback John Kuhn told the Packers website. "We worked really hard this offseason, so this is the time to kick it, have a good time, laugh, and make fun of each other for not being able to shoot a shotgun. It's a lot of fun."
The Packers will hold their final minicamp practice at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, which is open to the public weather permitting. They'll then be off for six weeks leading up to training camp, which begins July 30.
Money matters: The four-year contract first-round pick Damarious Randall signed with the Packers on Tuesday is worth $7,915,728 with $6,401,310 guaranteed, according to a league source with access to the NFLPA salary database.
Randall, the 30th overall selection, received a $4,016,892 signing bonus. The contract carries a base salary of $435,000 in 2015, $794,806 in 2016, $1,154,612 in 2017 and $1,090,318 in 2018. The fourth season isn't guaranteed, but calls for a $374,037 roster bonus due on the fifth day of training camp.
Randall's cap number for this season is $1,439,223.
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