Family matters keep Favre off field

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre didn't practice Sunday morning because of what Packers officials said was a death in the family, but he did participate in the day's second practice.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported on its Web site Sunday afternoon that Rocky Byrd, second husband of Favre's mother-in-law, died of a heart attack Saturday in Mississippi.

Byrd and wife Ann, mother of Favre's wife, Deanna, reportedly lived on the Favres' estate in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said after practice Sunday night that Favre would return to Mississippi on Monday for funeral services and return to Green Bay on Wednesday night. Favre will miss practice Monday and Tuesday. The team is off Wednesday.

Favre struggled in the second practice Sunday. He had four passes intercepted two each by cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Antonio Malone in team drills.

"It clearly wasn't his best practice," McCarthy said. "He's had a lot on his mind. He spoke about (the personal loss) throughout the night, throughout the day. It's heavy on his heart. Family first, and that's where his focus is."

McCarthy said earlier in the day that he anticipated having Favre practice Sunday morning before the personal matter sidetracked the 17-year veteran. Favre is being limited to no more than 50 throws a day after he experienced shoulder soreness in offseason workouts in June.

McCarthy previously said he'd consider having Favre take part in only one practice on the days, including Sunday, when two practices are scheduled.

Favre, though, insisted on participating in both practices during some two-a-days last year.

"He likes to practice," McCarthy said. "He doesn't like individual (drills), but he likes the team drills. And I like when he practices, too."

For those practices where Favre isn't on the field, top backup Aaron Rodgers is entrusted with directing the No. 1 offense. McCarthy said those reps are important for Rodgers, who has appeared in only five regular-season games after the Packers selected him in the first round of the 2005 draft.

Rodgers has recovered from a season-ending broken foot he sustained in a relief appearance against New England on Nov. 19 last year.

"I think his arm has gotten stronger," McCarthy said. "I think his maturity, physically and mentally, has really progressed a lot since he's been here. He just needs the opportunity to play."

--- MORENCY HURT AGAIN: Running back Vernand Morency didn't practice Sunday because of a knee injury he suffered in the first camp practice Saturday.

McCarthy said the status of Morency, listed as a starter on the depth chart, is day-to-day.

"I go back to what he's done in the offseason, I'm actually a little surprised that he's had an injury this early," McCarthy said.

Durability has come into question with Morency, who's in only his third NFL season. He suffered a lower-back injury against Arizona on Oct. 29 last year and missed the next two games.

Morency and rookie Brandon Jackson are the top candidates to replace Ahman Green, who signed with Houston as a free agent.

"I'm not concerned," McCarthy said of Morency's latest setback. "We talk about it over and over again - if it takes one guy to do the job, we'll do it with one guy; if it takes a committee of backs to do it, then we'll do it by committee."

--- GETTING ALONG: Thompson said Sunday during his first news conference of training camp that he and Favre are on good terms. In the spring Favre openly questioned the direction the team was heading after Thompson didn't make any offseason acquisitions to bolster the offense.

"You'll have to ask him, but from my point of view, yes (we are getting along)," Thompson said.

At the heart of Favre's rant, which he aired to the media in his home state of Mississippi, was that Thompson didn't follow through on a long-speculated trade with Oakland that would have brought Pro Bowl receiver Randy Moss to Green Bay.

The Raiders instead dealt Moss to New England for a fourth-round draft pick this year.

"Brett has always been a very opinionated football player, and I think having been a player (myself), I think you understand and have a little bit thicker skin when it comes to getting criticized by a player," Thompson said. "It's really small potatoes in the big scheme of things, as long as there's not underlying strife or something that tears the place apart.

"And, if a player has a different opinion than the management, I think it's OK for them to voice that opinion. It doesn't hurt our feelings when that happens," Thompson added.

--- MEDICAL UPDATE: Top receiver Donald Driver didn't practice for the second straight day after he failed his pre-camp physical. Driver, who has a lingering shoulder injury from last season, must pass a strength test before gaining clearance for practice. He said Sunday the next test might be administered by the medical staff Monday.

Driver is aiming to be on the field by Tuesday night, when the Packers will hold practice at City Stadium in Green Bay, the team's former longtime home field.

Thompson expects Driver will be ready to play in the first preseason game Aug. 11 at Pittsburgh.

Defensive tackles Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly also remained out Sunday after failing a conditioning test two days earlier. Their status is day-to-day until they pass the test, a timed series of wind sprints from sideline to sideline.

Rookie running back DeShawn Wynn practiced for the first time Sunday morning but had to drop out because of cramping. Wynn reported to camp with a stomach virus and didn't initially pass his physical.

Defensive end Aaron Kampman, tight end Bubba Franks, left tackle Chad Clifton, receiver Robert Ferguson and safety Marviel Underwood are being limited to one practice a day and didn't practice Sunday morning.

Linebacker Abdul Hodge dropped out of practice Sunday morning because of a recurring knee injury and was held out of the night practice.

Punter David Lonie (ankle) and rookie linebacker Juwan Simpson (shoulder) were out for the day.

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