Green & Gold


Recognized off field, Barrington key to team’s plans

Steadying himself on a boat, Sam Barrington gripped tightly on the fishing rod and went to work last month.

Snaring a 400-pound shark isn’t exactly child’s play. By comparison, tackling a 220-pound NFL running back would seemingly be an easy catch for the Green Bay inside linebacker.

Between the fish stories and his acclaimed charitable contributions, Barrington has had a memorable year off the field. On the field, there is plenty of time for Barrington to prove how much he has recovered from a right foot injury that sidelined him for most of last season.

“I’m on path with everything they’ve got lined up for me,” Barrington said this week when asked if he’d be ready for minicamp next month. “I’m just grateful that I haven’t had any setbacks.”


Time running out for Kuhn deal

There remains “mutual interest” between the Green Bay Packers and fullback John Kuhn for the 2016 season, but no definitive date for when a deal might be made, according to an NFL source.

Conversations are ongoing between the Packers and their three-time Pro Bowl fullback. The door remains open that Kuhn could play a 10th season with the Packers this fall, even though he remains unsigned with organized team activities looming.

While the Packers have moved on from other free agents such as receiver James Jones and outside linebacker Mike Neal, Kuhn’s locker remains intact inside Lambeau Field. Kuhn, who turns 34 in September, has been working out daily and hopes to play at least one more season with the Packers, the source said.


More homework for Packers' 1st-round pick

Packers first-round draft pick Kenny Clark will have more homework to do as he finishes up classes at UCLA.

The defensive tackle won’t be able to start his new career full-time in Green Bay until classes back in Los Angeles finish up next month. He was just starting to read up on the playbook, too, during the team’s two-day rookie orientation camp last week.

“I think probably the playbook and getting the playbook down and just trying to learn things on the fly,” Clark said about the toughest part of the rookie learning curve.

Not that Clark minds going back to school, either. His goal is to graduate, which the junior estimated will take another year, at least, to accomplish.

Professionally, the goal is to help fill the gap in the middle of the left by the departure of run-stuffer B.J. Raji. The veteran said earlier in the offseason that he was taking a one-year “hiatus” from the game.


Packers’ brawny rookie class arrives

Coach Mike McCarthy got his first look Friday at all the brawny rookies drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

“Yes, they’re as big as we thought they were. It’s confirmed, yes,” McCarthy joked.

But they’re not quite NFL ready. Luckily, Friday was just the first day of the Packers’ rookie orientation camp.

It’s the first time to run through the playbook, the first time to make a good impression on McCarthy while wearing a green and gold uniform. And getting the “wow” moments out of the way, like having a locker in the same room as two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Honestly I wasn’t expecting to have a locker right by everybody else,” offensive tackle Jason Spriggs said.

The second-round selection is one of the bigger draft picks out of the Packers’ seven-player bunch. Listed at 6-foot-6, 301 pounds, Spriggs fits a need to replenish offensive line depth, as well as McCarthy’s desire to add more bulk to the team.


To Packers, ‘16 draft class — here’s to your health

The world of sports can mirror some of life’s firm injunctions, such as getting out what you put in, or that no one is immune to the random slip-up.

In the National Basketball Association, the Golden State Warriors and their fans learned that a wet spot on the floor could end up being the deciding factor in this year’s championship, and whether their historic regular season is reduced to a footnote.

The Warriors’ Steph Curry, the reigning league MVP, slipped on a damp area of the court and injured his knee during his team’s first-round series against Houston, thus hanging a massive question mark over Golden State’s postseason hopes.


Packers focus on bulk in NFL draft

Packers focus on bulk and add inside linebacker in NFL draft
GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Coach Mike McCarthy sought size at the line of scrimmage. General manager Ted Thompson drafted bulk.

Four linemen, two on each side of the ball, taken by the Green Bay Packers in the NFL draft this weekend should satisfy the coach.

"I think first off when you look at the big men that have been drafted, there's definitely, in my opinion, a desire to get bigger. So we've accomplished that," McCarthy said Saturday after the Packers made the last of their seven picks this weekend.

Fittingly, that man was 6-foot-7, 301-pound left tackle Kyle Murphy, who was taken in the sixth round. He joins 6-7, 305-pound Jason Spriggs in the Packers' draft class, a left tackle from Indiana selected in the second round on Friday.


Green Bay trades up, takes offensive tackle

The Packers have added heft up front in the NFL draft.

They beefed up offensive line depth by trading up in the second round Friday to take Jason Spriggs, a 305-pound tackle out of Indiana.

Green Bay moved up nine spots to the 48th overall pick in the draft by dealing three picks to Indianapolis. The Colts received the Packers’ second-rounder, the 57th pick overall, along with selections in the fourth and seventh rounds.

“We thought we had an opportunity to get someone that (we) wouldn’t have if we sat still,” Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst said.

The Packers turned to defense in the third round by taking Utah State outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell with the 88th overall selection. Fackrell led the nation with five fumble recoveries.


Packers draft defensive tackle in 1st round

The Green Bay Packers are counting on UCLA’s Kenny Clark to help fill a big void on the defensive line.

General manager Ted Thompson selected Clark, a junior, with the 27th overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

Clark played three years at UCLA, starting all 13 games in 2015 and making 29 consecutive starts overall. A team captain, Clark had 75 tackles and six sacks for the Bruins last season.

There is a huge void in the middle of the defense with tackle B.J. Raji choosing to take a year off. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Clark will help plug that hole.

“I feel like I’m very versatile. I’ll do whatever they ask me to do,” Clark said in a conference call from his hometown of San Bernardino, California.


NFC North Draft Capsules

Draft capsules for NFC North teams heading into the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday:

11. CHICAGO BEARS (6-10)

LAST SEASON: Finished last in NFC North in first season under general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox. Even though they won just one more game, Bears believe they started to lay strong foundation. QB Jay Cutler posted highest rating of career while cutting interceptions from 18 to 11 in 15 games after Bears waited until March to announce he was their quarterback going forward. Defense tied for 22nd in sacks, had 17 takeaways — fifth fewest in league.



POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama; OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia; DT Jarran Reed, Alabama; CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida.


Thompson offers few clues on draft focus

How the Green Bay Packers proceed with their first-round pick in the NFL draft could be a sign of the team’s comfort level with the young inside linebackers on their roster.

Or not. General manager Ted Thompson has never been one to drop big hints.

Thompson stayed true to form Wednesday. He said picking the best player available is always the preference. He offered few clues about how moving linebacker Clay Matthews back to the outside could impact his decision when the Packers pick 27th overall on April 28.

Mathews spent much of the last two seasons on the inside, helping shore up the run defense. And while he made the Pro Bowl as an inside linebacker last season, Matthews is at his best rushing the passer and wreaking havoc in the backfield.

“Yeah, it’s a coaching decision. We’ve had a little bit of fortune with him playing outside backer, too,” Thompson said wryly.


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