Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy announced after this morning's practice that safety Atari Bigby will be returning to North Carolina Friday to have a second surgery on his ankle. Bigby had microfracture surgery performed earlier in the spring and did his rehabilitative work on his own. In no hurry to sign his restricted free agent tender offer, the veteran stayed away from the team during organized team activities and earlier mini-camps. When he eventually signed his tender for 2010 and arrived at training camp last week, he failed his physical and was placed on the physically unable to peform list. Bigby was in North Carolina Wednesday to get another examination and the result of that will be more surgery. After practice, Bigby said it will be arthroscopic in nature to remove remaining scar tissue and he hopes it will only sideline him for about a month. He remains optimistic about starting the season on the active roster but that now looks like a real stretch. In the meantime, secondary coach Darren Perry told me today the loss of his starter will put pressure on the entire secondary group through the rest of camp. Third round draft choice Morgan Burnett has been getting nearly all the practice snaps with the number one defense alongside Pro Bowler Nick Collins. Perry feels they have adequate depth in Charlie Peprah, Will Blackmon and Derek Martin although Martin still isn't practicing because of a foot injury and Blackmon is only getting limited work early in camp since he's coming off reconstructive knee surgery from last fall. Perry said when the team was hit with injuries in the secondary last year, Martin had to step in with very little practice time with the team, as did Josh Bell later in the year, with very difficult results. He believes the team is better prepared to deal with Bigby's loss now. "It's not panic time around here", Perry told me, "but we've got to find players able to take advantage of the opportunity."
At this morning's workout under near ideal weather conditions, the Packers broke out the wet balls. Footballs dipped in large gatorade jugs were used in snapping drills with the centers and quarterabcks, along with ball security drills run by assistant coach Winston Moss. The team portion of the practice spent time on a two minute drill and the defense came up with a couple of big plays. Pat Lee intercepted Aaron Rodgers to end one drive and linebacker Robert Francois snared a deflected pass from Graham Harrell. The final posession did result in a TD toss from Rodgers.
A strong contingent of high school coaches attended practice. The Wisconsin High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame has a large display of enshrinees inside the Lambeau Field Atrium. Each summer before prep camps begin, coaches from all across the state are invited to watch practice and attend a luncheon at Curley's Pub.