The final 8:15 AM practice of camp had distinguished visitors as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with NFL Hall of Famer John Madded were on hand today. It's the first stop of a camp tour this summer for Goodell who will stop by the Bears on his way to Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies this weekend. Goodell spent most of the practice in the corner of Ray Nitschke Field, shaking hands and visiting with fans, even signing a few autographs. Goodell met reporters just as practice was wrapping up to say it's great to be back talking football, in Green Bay no less. The Commissioner was very impressed with the new addition and scoreboards going up at Lambeau Field but he also has some heavy issues still unresolved on his desk back at league headquarters. First and foremost is the new contract for NFL referees. A team of replacement refs, being trained by the league, also began working practice. There's the pending Jonathan Vilma injunction over bounty-gate, which impacts Green Bay with Anthony Hargrove facing an 8 game suspension. Hargrove is one of three players suspended by Goodell, Mike Neal will miss four games over a banned substance and Erik Walden was suspended one game yesterday by the league for violating the personal conduct policy. Walden pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct following a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend last November. Goodell was also asked if Johnny Jolly's reinstatement petition is on file but he said he's not sure where that stands. Jolly was suspended indefinately after his conviction on drug charges in Texas but he has since been released from prison and wants to resume his career. There's also the former players suing the league over the NFL's failure to inform them about the dangers of concussions. On the audio report link below, you'll hear highlights from Goodell's chat with the press.
As for the practice, Mike McCarthy said it may have set a new standard for intensity as the defense installed many of it's pressure packages. Two players passed physicals and came off the PUP list, John Kuhn and Desmond Bishop. They both worked out only in shells as required by the league's new health and safety rules. Both hope to be in full pads next week. Greg Jennings also returned after missing a couple of days with a bruised elbow. After 6 early morning workouts, the camp schedule shifts to night work. The team will practice at 7:00 PM Thursday night in advance of Friday's family night scrimmage. The team will work out under the lights next Sunday and Monday nights as well.