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Packers DB Underwood starts camp with another apology

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the second year in a row, Brandon Underwood is apologizing to the Packers.

Underwood pleaded not guilty this month to one count of disorderly conduct after being charged in an incident with his wife on the night players received their Super Bowl rings in June. He wouldn't discuss the specifics of the case with reporters at Packers training camp Saturday, but he said he was sorry for again bringing negative attention to the franchise.

"As far as the organization, and the fans and my teammates, I want to apologize wholeheartedly," Underwood said. "It's just one of those ongoing things. I'm being fully cooperative. I'm looking to move forward, past all that stuff, and focus on football."

Earlier this year, Underwood pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of soliciting a prostitute in June 2010 at a resort cabin in Lake Delton, Wis., after two women initially alleged he sexually assaulted them. Underwood was ordered to pay a $379 fine.

Underwood apologized to his teammates last June for creating a distraction. Now that he's facing additional scrutiny a little more than one year later, Underwood understands why people would question his character, but he said those incidents don't show who he really is.

"I'm a great guy," Underwood said. "For those who know me, that's all that really matters."

Authorities allege Underwood ripped a necklace off his wife, Brandie, and pushed her to the ground at their home after the June 16 Super Bowl ring ceremony. Brandie Underwood has said the incident has been blown out of proportion.

Underwood is scheduled to face trial Sept. 26.

Underwood said he has had some difficult conversations with coaches since returning to the Packers.

"Anytime you feel like you're being disappointing, and you've let people down, it's always tough," Underwood said. "Whether it's your mom, dad, whether you let your kids down."

Still, Underwood remains on the Super Bowl champions' roster in training camp. Why should they give him another chance?

"That's just a decision that they'll have to make internally, but I feel like I'm a great guy," Underwood said. "I feel like they know that I'm a great guy, and sometimes, you can be put in situations. We always talk about adversity, and I feel like I've handled some adverse situations these last couple weeks."

Underwood insists he won't let his personal troubles keep him from making the team.

"I felt like I did a great job of doing that last year," Underwood said. "One thing for me, football is a vehicle to just be in another world. When I'm at practice, I don't worry about things going on outside practice. I worry about the now, and what affects me on the field is how I feel like I'm performing on the field."

Underwood has moved from cornerback to safety and bulked up a little bit in the offseason. If he expects to stick with the Packers this season, he knows he will have to make his mark on special teams.

"I feel like I have a pretty good opportunity," Underwood said. "Toward the end of last year, with our special teams, the way we were moving, I come in this year with a lot more confidence. One thing that they're really emphasizing, if you're not a full-time starter, your role and vehicle for this team is special teams. I look to take a lot more pride in that area this year."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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