Notebook: Sherman hopeful Rodgers will join camp soon
By Dylan B. Tomlinson and Rob Demovsky and

The Green Bay Packers opened their first day of full-team practices without first-round draft pick Aaron Rodgers, but there appears to be some optimism a deal may be imminent.

Rodgers is the only one of Green Bay’s 11 draft picks who is not under contract, but coach Mike Sherman said he’s hopeful the quarterback will be in soon.

“I’m confident we’ll get something done at some point,” Sherman said. “I don’t know when that’s going to be.”

Contract negotiations for quarterbacks typically take longer than other players, and Rodgers is just one of several first-round picks who has yet to sign a contract. As of Friday evening, 11 first-round picks had signed, with No. 5 overall pick Carnell “Cadillac” Williams and No. 13 Jammal Brown the only players to sign between No. 1 and No. 23.

Rodgers’ contract may be especially difficult since there is no precedent to follow. Rodgers isn’t expected to play regularly for at least two seasons, until Brett Favre retires, so it would seem unlikely that he would agree to a contract that was incentive-laden, like the five-year contract Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman signed last year. If Losman reaches certain incentives, the contract could be worth as much as $24.58 million. Losman played minimally as a rookie, but is expected to start for the Bills this season.

The other factor that has held up many of the first-round signings was the six-year, $49.5 million contract that No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith signed with the San Francisco *****. Smith’s contract contained $24 million in guaranteed money and is 20 percent more than Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick in 2004 received. Draft picks typically receive contracts that are worth 5 to 10 percent more than the player taken in that spot from the previous year.

Injury report: Third-year running back Walt Williams was taken off the field on a cart with an ankle injury in the afternoon session, and Andrae Thurman injured his thumb. In the morning session, rookie linebacker Brady Poppinga injured his hamstring and could miss from one to five days, according to Sherman.

Sherman said he will limit center Mike Flanagan, tackle Chad Clifton, defensive tackle James Lee and quarterback Brett Favre to one-a-day practices.

Cutting ties: Wide receiver Chris Samp, a former Green Bay Preble standout, was released on Friday. The Packers filled the roster spot with Quentine Newhouse, a rookie free agent lineman from Northwestern (La.) State. He’ll wear No. 78.

Golf buddies: Brett Favre and several of his golf-crazy teammates will film a segment for The Golf Channel next month at Oneida Golf and Country Club.

Favre, Al Harris, Ryan Longwell, Aaron Rodgers and Mark Tauscher will take part in The Big Break All-Star Challenge on Aug. 12. An air date has not been determined.

The players will compete against each other in some of the challenges seen on The Golf Channel’s reality series The Big Break, which is beginning its fourth season on Sept. 13.

The taping is not open to spectators.