GREEN BAY - When he stood behind a lectern and addressed the media Monday morning, his first press conference of the 2016 season, there was a hint of trepidation in coach Mike McCarthy’s voice as he discussed his football team’s bill of health.
Five weeks prior, during the final stage of the offseason program, the sidelines at Ray Nitschke Field were bloated — a surprisingly large portion of the active roster was present but not participating due to injury. And while McCarthy downplayed the idea that the injuries would linger into training camp — “I’ll be disappointed if everybody’s not ready to go,” he said on June 16 — the results of Monday’s physical examinations surely tempered his pre-camp buzz.
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The Green Bay Packers placed six players on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list Monday afternoon, and all of them were starters or key contributors. The most surprising of the bunch was wide receiver Jordy Nelson, whose recovery from a torn ACL last August had yet been undeterred. The other five players who will begin their season on the sideline are linebacker Sam Barrington (foot), tight end Jared Cook (foot), guard T.J. Lang (shoulder), center Corey Linsley (undisclosed) and wide receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle).
“It’s important to get through the physical phase of it,” McCarthy said in his pre-training camp press conference Monday morning. “I hope this is the year there are no surprises, or nothing comes out of the conditioning test and so forth and so forth. But that’s usually not the case.”
And within a few hours, McCarthy learned this year's team was no exception.
At the time of his press conference, McCarthy had yet to meet with the team’s medical staff. The players had reported at 6 a.m. sharp, and physicals would progress throughout the morning. McCarthy told reporters he would sit down with team doctors and general manager Ted Thompson on Monday afternoon to discuss any problems.
All six players placed on the PUP list were sidelined for the majority, if not the entirety, of the off-season program. Barrington, Lang, Linsley, Nelson and Montgomery were held out of team activities in response to pre-existing injuries; Cook participated early before dropping out to have an operation on his foot in early June.
Players on the PUP list are eligible to rejoin the team at any time throughout training camp. All they need is medical clearance from the team doctors.
Thompson also made two additional roster moves Monday by releasing running back Don Jackson and defensive end B.J. McBryde, who finished last season on the Packers’ practice squad. The Packers now have 88 players under contract and two open spots.
Jackson, an undrafted free agent from Nevada, was released due to a non-football injury.