For the first time in over 6 months, the Packers put on pads today, but Mike Neal was among several players watching from the sideline, after starting camp on the physically unable to perform list for the second straight year. Neal explains he has mixed feelings about not participating.
“Not to be so comical, it's kinda bittersweet, sometimes you're like man I don't have to run out there and hit people today, but I'm a competitor it drives me nuts… It makes it harder to wake up and come to work when you can't be on the field,” said Mike Neal.
Neal is once again nursing a core muscle injury that he correlates with dropping weight since making the move from defensive end to outside linebacker. Neal reported to camp at 263 pounds -- he's says he hasn't been that small since high school.
“Every single time I lose weight, I have to deal with my ab hurting yeah know! It's kinda frustrating, but yeah I lost 15 more lbs this offseason, I lost 20 last offseason.”
Neal says the injury flared up last week when he returned to Green Bay.
“I told the trainers and they were just like you know what just calm it down. I'm like ok so I'm coming out here the next day to go to practice and they're like what do you think you're doing? Ted's like hey not so fast. Ok! When the head man tells you sit down you can't argue that,” Neal explained.
Neal has been injury prone and calls this latest setback frustrating.
“Let's not kid ourselves, this is five years for me and how many times you wrote a story, Mike Neal's not healthy, he's not gonna be able to play the season. It gets old man, gets old to me, but you know what I can't help the hand that I'm dealt but I can play the cards and I'm a good card player.”
So don't bet against #96, who played in every single game last year after missing nearly two weeks of camp with an abdominal strain. Neal says he's day to day and will use the team’s off day Tuesday to met with team doctors.