GREEN BAY - After an offseason focused on courtrooms, featuring debates about player-organized workouts, it's nice to get back to normal.
"A little different than last year," said Packers kicker Mason Crosby. "It is nice having it organized and seeing all the guys again."
Green Bay's offseason program began Monday. While it's voluntary at this point, many players showed up to Lambeau Field bright and early to get back to work.
"This is my third year but it's actually my first off-season," said defensive lineman CJ Wilson. "It feels good to be working out here with the Packers, instead of back home with the lockout last year. It's a good feeling to be here."
The NFL's new collective bargaining agreement, forged to end the lockout, changes the offseason program. For one thing, it's shorter.
"It's more on us as individuals to come in prepared, come in in-shape, which I think most of this team does," said Green Bay linebacker AJ Hawk. "I like the extra added responsibility it puts on the player, you have to be a man and do your job."
Another difference – for the first two weeks, no players can so much as touch a football, except for quarterbacks throwing to receivers. That can take some getting used to for guys like special teams players, who use a football quite a bit.
"I didn't know that until today," said long snapper Brett Goode. "We can do it on our own, not on this facility, so we're going to get together and get out there. "
Last offseason, Crosby and Packers punter Tim Masthay worked out, footballs in tow, at St. Norbert's football field.
"We'll find a place to kick and get our work in," said Crosby. "Just been in the weight room, running, working out, getting that body ready so when I start kicking, I can dial that down and figure out my program from there."
It will be a different program, but still, the Packers are happy to be back at work, and back with their teammates.
"Everybody looks pretty good, everybody is happy to see everybody, ready to get this party started and get the season going," said offensive lineman Sampson Genus.
The Packers are expected to release their OTA and training camp schedules soon. The NFL plans to release their regular season schedule Tuesday at 6pm.
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