Report: Packers sign Ahmad Brooks

The Green Bay Packers have signed outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the veteran, who was cut by the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month, agreed to a 1-year deal worth up to $5 million.

The 33-year-old Brooks should bring more veteran experience to a thin linebacking corps. Starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, along with backup Jayrone Elliott, are dealing with minor injuries, while fourth-round pick Vince Biegel appears likely to start the season on the physically unable to perform list.

When asked about Brooks on Tuesday, linebackers coach Winston Moss clearly wanted him in the mix.

“Tough [and] physically imposing. A (pass) rusher. Can play really well against the run. Can play stout versus a tight end. He can do everything that we’d ask him to do in our scheme,” Moss said.

Brooks will be entering his 11th season in the NFL. He played two years with the Cincinnati Bengals and the last eight with the 49ers.

The University of Virginia product hasn’t missed more than three games or had less than five sacks in the last eight seasons. He was also voted All-Pro at OLB in 2012 and 2013 while in San Francisco.

Packers: Would be ‘major challenge’ to get OLB Vince Biegel ready for the season

Vince Biegel hasn’t practiced or played since the Green Bay Packers rookie minicamp in May. And it doesn’t appear as though the former Wisconsin star will get a chance to get on the field anytime soon.

Speaking after Tuesday’s practice, linebackers coach Winston Moss told reporters that getting Biegel ready for the regular season — after he spent training camp on the physically unable to perform list — would not be easy.

“A major challenge,” Moss said of getting Biegel up to speed before hinting that if he did make the 53-man roster any action he might get would be in specialized situations. “We wouldn’t call upon him to do something out of his range, out of his comfort zone [or] something he’s not ready for.”

Biegel played outside linebacker for most of his career at Wisconsin, so it would seem he’d have a easier time catching up than someone just learning the position. But even if he had all the technical aspects of it down, Moss said getting him into game shape would take time.

“We’re going to coach the guys that we have right now,” Moss said. “Vince, even though he wants to get out there — I want him to get out there, you guys want him to get out there — we’ll just take it as it comes.”

If Biegel stays on the PUP past the preseason, the earliest he could return would be after Week 6.

A fourth-round pick in April’s NFL draft, the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., native was among the few additions to the Packers pass rush in an offseason that saw outside linebackers Julius Peppers and Datone Jones leave in free agency.

On Tuesday, starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, along with reserve Jayrone Elliott, were held out of practice for precautionary reasons as all three dealt with minor ailments.

But the lack of bodies and reliable pieces at the position led the Packers to bring in 33-year-old Ahmad Brooks for a visit on Tuesday. He was most recently with the San Francisco 49ers and it sounded as if Moss wants him in the mix.

“Tough [and] physically imposing. A (pass) rusher. Can play really well against the run. Can play stout versus a tight end. He can do everything that we’d ask him to do in our scheme,” Moss said.

Hand injury ends Vince Biegel’s day early

GREEN BAY — Vince Biegel’s first practice as a member of the Green Bay Packers came to end early on Friday, as the former Wisconsin outside linebacker left midway through the session with what turned out to be a minor injury to a finger on his left hand.

“It’s not too much of a concern. It’s not a season-ending injury by any means,” said Biegel, who underwent X-rays and was still being evaluated by the team’s medical staff. “This is a finger here. My whole body is ready to go. This is football. You get nicks and bruises. I’m not concerned at all about this moving forward.”

Being forced out of practice early was frustrating for Biegel, but he remained upbeat.

“[I’m] disappointed, obviously, that I didn’t get to finish my first practice as a Green Bay Packer,” Biegel said. “Obviously, I was really looking forward to this moment. [But]listen, this is going to be a bumpy road. There’s ups and downs in this journey.”

The injury has been the lone negative for the Wisconsin Rapids native since being selected with the first pick of the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. A fan of the Packers for his entire life, the week has been one memorable moment after another.

“Given my situation, being from Wisconsin, it was really kind of a surreal moment to check out the locker room…check out the indoor facility, the weight room, the training tables [and the] training room,” Biegel said. “It was a really cool experience. I’m extremely blessed.”

When Biegel walked into the locker room, he found his nameplate and quickly noticed the two players on either side of him in veterans Nick Perry and Clay Matthews, the latter of which has been an inspiration for Biegel throughout his football life and stopped by to welcome him to the team.

“Clay approached me, and it was kind of fun to shake hands with Clay, see him, talk with him,” Biegel said. “It was a guy I looked up to. I’ve taken parts of his game and tried to include it in mine.”

Biegel felt that his locker placement was intentional, placing him between the team’s two best pass rushers and that it meant the coaching staff has high expectations for him. Though the three-year starter for the Badgers is likely reading too much into it, he’ll chase those perceived expectations anyways, and do so with a passion few others possess. That intensity won’t be reserved for the field either, as coach Mike McCarthy and the rest of the staff have learned in just a few days of being around him.

“He drove here. He was the first one here. He sat in the front row [in the first team meeting],” McCarthy said. “He’s off to a great start.”

Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers (calf) unlikely to practice the next two days

GREEN BAY — Aaron Rodgers might not practice before Saturday, but the Green Bay Packers are preparing like he’ll be able to play when they travel to Chicago to take on the Bears this Sunday.

“He’ll be with the rehab group (Wednesday),” coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. “He won’t practice (Wednesday) and I’ll probably do the same thing (Thursday). We have a plan.”

The quarterback had been dealing with a hamstring injury suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles last month, and then injured his right calf on the third snap of the Packers win over the Seattle Seahawks. With a big lead, Rodgers was removed from the game in the fourth quarter but said afterwards he didn’t expect to miss any time.

“Game plan-wise, his comments were just don’t hold anything back,” McCarthy said of Rodgers. “We’re approaching this game no different than we did last week.”

Rodgers injured his other calf late in the 2014 season, and it limited him significantly down the stretch and in the playoffs, but he didn’t miss a game.

Meanwhile, McCarthy believes that tight end Jared Cook, who left the game on Sunday with a chest injury, should be available.

“I think we’re going to have him, but practice will dictate that,” McCarthy said. “The medical staff wants to see him go and see how he comes through.”

The coach also said linebacker Clay Matthews (shoulder) came out of the game better than he did a week ago, while outside linebacker Nick Perry, who missed the game after undergoing surgery to repair several broken fingers, won’t practice before Saturday.

McCarthy: Lang, Tretter making progress

Making progress.

That’s how Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy described the status of a pair of his starting offensive linemen when he addressed the media Friday morning.

Right guard T.J. Lang and center J.C. Tretter each practiced on a limited basis yesterday, and McCarthy is feeling encouraged by the work they did.

“He’s improving. He felt good coming off the field,” McCarthy said of Lang’s practice on Thursday.” J.C. Tretter also had a really good day. Did some really good things. He felt good coming off the field.

“I think those guys are progressing. That’s a very good sign.”

Lang suffered a broken foot early in the Packers loss to Tennessee on Nov. 13, and he’s has missed the last three games, while Tretter injured his knee in the Oct. 30 loss at Atlanta. Rookie Jason Spriggs has filled in nicely for Lang, while veteran Corey Linsley, who started at center for Green Bay much of the last two years, has stepped in for Tretter.

McCarthy also liked the progress of outside linebacker Clay Matthews. He’s dealing with a shoulder injury that clearly limited him in the win over Houston last week.

“He’s just working on his strength,” McCarthy said. “He did all the individual stuff, hit the sleds and did all the things to get better. He’s improving.”

At times last week, Matthews was unable to raise his right arm and was a virtual non-factor in the game. But he played through it, and will likely need to do so again this week as fellow outside linebacker, Nick Perry, is out after undergoing surgery to repair several broken fingers.

Weather a factor?

McCarthy doesn’t trust his weather man any more than you trust yours. Asked about the potential for another snow game this Sunday against Seattle, McCarthy said they’ll wait and see what things look like twenty-four hours before kickoff.

“We watch the weather,’ McCarthy said. “Whether it’s going to snow, how much snow, rain, wind.

“You look at the elements and you adjust accordingly. I don’t really talk about the weather until the team meeting (Saturday) because it can change. (Assistant) Matt Klein is our weather man and he’s kind of like your weather man. It changes every day.”

As of Friday morning, forecasters were calling for 3 to 5 inches of snow to fall in Green Bay on Sunday.

Packers say guard T.J. Lang and linebacker Jake Ryan won’t play this Sunday

Green Bay will be without at least a few starters when it looks to snap a three-game losing streak this Sunday at Washington.

Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Friday morning that right guard T.J. Lang (foot) and inside linebacker Jake Ryan (ankle) will not play.

In Lang’s absence, Don Barclay will get the start, while it remains to be seen who will replace Ryan. Joe Thomas struggled against Tennessee after Ryan went down and is better suited to be a situational guy, but the Packers don’t have many other choices.

On the good side of things, linebacker Clay Matthews, tight end Jared Cook and left tackle David Bakhtiari were deemed good to go against the Redskins barring any kind of setback during practice on Saturday.

Matthews has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, while Cook hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in Week 3. Bakhtiari left the game against Tennessee with a knee injury.

A full injury report is expected to be released Friday afternoon.

Packers’ LB Clay Matthews won’t play vs Tennessee, other injury updates

A hamstring injury will keep linebacker Clay Matthews from playing in Green Bay’s matchup with Tennessee on Sunday.

That was the word from Packers coach Mike McCarthy when he met with the media Friday morning.

“We’re going to list Clay as out this week,” McCarthy said. “(He’s) making progress, (but) he won’t be available this week.”

This will be the third-straight game Matthews has missed due to the injury. He’ll be replaced by veteran Julius Peppers.

Also, McCarthy said running back James Starks and tight end Jared Cook have looked good this week, but it’s still unclear if either will play against the Titans.

Starks has missed the last month following knee surgery, while Cook hasn’t played since Week 3 when he suffered a high ankle sprain.

“James is very close,” McCarthy said. “We’ll see how Jared is coming Saturday.”

McCarthy believes that cornerback Damarious Randall has a chance to play after missing the last three games with a leg injury, while he anticipates wide receiver Randall Cobb not being limited at all after being used sparingly a week ago in a loss to the Colts because of a hamstring injury.

“It’s better than last week, so that’s an improvement,” McCarthy said of the injury list. “We’re getting healthier and that’s important. But frankly, the focus is on finalizing the preparation for the Titans.”

Matthews, Peppers cleared in PED investigation

The NFL’s investigation into Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers has concluded, and the pair have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

In a statement released early Wednesday afternoon, the NFL said they had found “no credible evidence” that the Green Bay Packers linebackers, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Harrison, had taken or been provided with banned substances as had been alleged in a documentary put together by Al-Jazeera America late last year.

The NFL said the investigation included interviews with witnesses, along with a review of “relevant records and other materials, electronic research and laboratory analysis and review.” The league called the investigation comprehensive.

Matthews and Peppers had both denied the accusations made in the documentary that stemmed from a hidden camera interview with Charlie Sly, a pharmacist from Indiana, who has since backtracked on his comments.

Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal is, according ESPN’s Adam Shefter, still under investigation for his connection to Sly.

Green Bay closes out their preseason schedule on Thursday night at Kansas City.

McCarthy: “We really like the opportunity in front of us.”

Mike McCarthy opened his 11th training camp as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers on Monday, and yet for him the excitement within the building and around the team was just as special as his first.

“This is exciting,” McCarthy said during a late morning press conference. “We’re talking about the National Football League here. The Green Bay Packers. This is a group – from coaching, support staff and most of all the players – we’re excited to get going. We really like the opportunity in front of us.”

The Packers enter camp among the favorites to make it to Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas. And for them to live up to those expectations, they’ll need quarterback Aaron Rodgers to bounce back from what was a subpar season by his standards. While most any team in the league would take a quarterback that threw 31 touchdowns and just eight interceptions with a passer rating of 93.1, those numbers won’t do for the two-time Most Valuable Player.

Rodgers talked this offseason about living a healthier lifestyle and eating better, which he was hoping would leave him in better shape to endure a grueling 16-game schedule injury free – something that hasn’t happened in any of the last three seasons.

“Aaron’s vibe, and really his offseason participation and performance, looks to line-up for a great year,” McCarthy said. “He’s in great shape. I would say this is the best shape I’ve seen him in.

“He’s excited to get started.”

So, too, is Jordy Nelson. The wide receiver missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a preseason game last August. Despite his assurances that he would be ready to go in time for training camp, it’s unclear if that’ll be the case. McCarthy wouldn’t comment on what players would or wouldn’t be able to take the field for the first practice on Tuesday, saying only that he had yet to speak with the trainers.

Nelson’s return is critical for an offense that faltered last season without him, going from a top 10 group in the league in 2014 to being a unit rated No. 23 in total offense in 2015. McCarthy, though, says having Nelson right away isn’t necessarily a must.

“I think we’re all confident – Aaron and Jordy included – that they’re going to get it back,” McCarthy said of the tandem. “It’s just a matter of getting back out on the field and getting reps. You’re talking about two players that have thousands of reps invested in their time together. I have great confidence they’ll get that back.”

McCarthy also took a look in the mirror when it came to the offensive inefficiencies from a year ago. After calling the offensive plays for the first nine years of his time in Green Bay, McCarthy gave that duty to associate head coach Tom Clements last year. When the struggles happened, he took the play-calling duties back in December. That didn’t solve the issues, so McCarthy broke it down in the offseason.

“Like anything in life, when it doesn’t go the way you anticipate it should go, or it doesn’t hit the standard you’re accustomed to, you have to go back and take a hard look at it. And we definitely did that,” McCarthy said. “I know more times than not my natural reaction is to go back to the basics, and that’s really what we’ve done as an offensive staff, and I think our players echo that.”

PED Investigation

The Packers weren’t the only ones to report to training camp in Green Bay on Monday. So too did NFL investigators that are expected to meet with linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers over accusations stemming from an Al Jazeera article last December that claimed the duo had used performance enhancing drugs. Both players have denied the accusations, that also include former Packers’ defensive end Mike Neal and Pittsburgh Steelers’ outside linebacker James Harrison.

For his part, McCarthy said he hasn’t spoken with the duo recently but that he wasn’t concerned that the investigation could be a distraction or an issue moving forward.

“I have no reason to be concerned based on the conversations I’ve been a part of,” McCarthy said.