Packers take time out to offer support for grieving OC Philbin

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have spent all week preparing for Sunday's NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New York Giants and trying, as best they can, to support their grieving offensive coordinator

Joe Philbin has been away from the team since 21-year-old Michael T. Philbin vanished on Sunday.

His body was found in a river in Oshkosh, Wis., on Monday and initial autopsy results indicate that he drowned.

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Several players and coaches attended a visitation Thursday night and others said they would attend Friday's funeral service. Some said they would go to both.

For wide receiver Jordy Nelson, it was time for real life to take precedence over football.

"It's necessary," Nelson said Friday. "Something like this reminds you that this is a game. There are definitely more important things in life."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged that it has been a rough week for everyone.

"It's challenging, no question about it," McCarthy said. "But as we talked as a team on Wednesday, it's important to separate your professional and personal life. Sometimes, it's not possible. We managed it."

Assistant head coach Winston Moss was attending the funeral, and said he expects the team to be ready to play Sunday after a tough week.

"This organization puts family first, so I respect that and I encourage that, and I'm appreciative of that as well," Moss said. "I think today, when it's all said and done, today is going to be the right thing to do. Moving forward, we'll deal with this today and get ready for Sunday to play a hell of a game."

This week was particularly taxing for Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang, whose father recently died after a battle with cancer. Lang wasn't sure he could go to another funeral so soon after burying his dad, but he did see the Philbin family at Thursday night's visitation.

"I went yesterday to see coach, and I know a lot of other guys went as well," Lang said. "He's got a lot of support, and he knows that. Going through the same thing last week, I know it's very tough to deal with. There's nothing that anybody can say to kind of heal that pain, but the more support you have from everybody definitely helps out."

Lang called Philbin a "very loved man" in the Packers' organization.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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