With a 34 minute press conference conducted by head coach Mike McCarthy Wednesday, the magic carpet ride of a Super Bowl XLV Championship season came to a close. McCarthy said the best thing about capturing the Vince Lombardi trophy was being able to share with fans upon their return to Green Bay Monday with the bus caravan to the stadium and the return to Titletown celebration with 56,000 packing Lambeau Field on Tuesday. McCarthy said the championship will connect everyone in the organization together forever, the congratulatory phone call from President Obama was neat because he admitted, as a Bear fan, it was hard to say well done. The street naming idea from Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt is no big deal according to the coach who was just as worried his parents house would still be standing when his folks finally returned to Pittsburgh this week. As for designing the Super Bowl rings, McCarthy will stay out of that too, the only jewelry he wears now are rings given to him by his wife and another by his daughter. All sentimentality aside, the off-season has now begun.
It will be an uncertain NFL future for three weeks from today, the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires and if a new deal isn't reached, NFL owners are prepared to lock the doors. The only calendered events ahead are the Scouting combine later this month in Indianapolis and the NFL Draft in April. McCarthy said the coaches and personel departments are pouring all of their energy into that process already. With a lockout, teams won't be conducting off-season workout programs on site, organized team activities or mini-camps. McCarthy said most players work out on their own, often with players from other teams at warm weather locations and he's not worried about guys getting soft. Free agency also goes on hold if there's no deal and the Packers have 10 players who would become unrestricted free agents with a CBA in place. Among the top names on that list are Cullen Jenkins, who wondered publicly if he's played his last game as a Packer when cleaning out his locker Monday night. Daryn Colledge, Brandon Jackson and Mason Crosby are others with contracts expiring.
The Packers announced today that nine free agents have signed 2011 contracts, all players who were on the practice squad, guard Adrian Battles, tackle Chris Campbell, safety Michael Greco, linebacker Cardia Jackson, safety Anthony Levine, wide receiver Antonio Robinson, defensive tackle Jay Ross, wide receiver Chastin West and linebacker Albert Young.
Just want to say thanks for following the Packers blog all-season, it was quite a ride. We'll be going on hiatus I would think for a spell but when there is Packers news, check back for details, analysis and commentary.