Packers play it safe with Quinten Rollins' hamstring injury


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Quinten Rollins wasn't around in 2013 when a hamstring injury ruined Casey Hayward's season. But the Green Bay Packers' rookie cornerback has heard enough about it to know that he better not take any chances with his.

That's why it might be later rather than sooner before the promising second-round pick from Miami (Ohio) makes his training camp debut.

Rollins was placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list to start training camp and after he watched Thursday's opening practice from the sideline, he revealed that he pulled his right hamstring working out two weeks before camp.

"I obviously want to be out there competing with my teammates," Rollins said. "At the same time, the trainers know what they're doing. There's obviously a reason they're not trying to rush me back right now too soon. Whenever they feel like I'm ready, I'm full of trust and belief in them that they'll get me back out there."

Like Rollins, Hayward pulled his hamstring shortly before camp two years ago. He missed the start of training camp that year, then re-injured the hamstring when he returned for the third preseason game. That kept him until Week 8 of the regular season. He played in three games and hurt it again, which ended his season.

Rollins said Hayward has told him to take his time coming back.

"Just picking up as much advice as I can because hamstrings are known to linger," Rollins said.

Coach Mike McCarthy said he had no timetable for Rollins' return.

Here are some other quick-hit notes from Day 1 of training camp:

  • Play of the day: He still has to do it when the pads go on, but rookie cornerback LaDarius Gunter continues to stand out. Just like he did in OTAs, the undrafted free agent from Miami (Fla.) made another big play when he picked off an Aaron Rodgers' fade that was intended for Jared Abbrederis, who was injured on the play, along the left sideline. "He's done some good things,” McCarthy said of Gunter after practice. "I think he's gone in there and competed well. Like a lot of our young guys, he's flashed. But we're in Day 1." Gunter worked mostly with the No. 2 defense, while Hayward and Sam Shields were the top two cornerbacks with the No. 1s.

  • Punting competition: Cody Mandell might be more than a training camp leg. In the first head-to-head period in the punting competition, Mandell had better hang time (an average of 4.38 seconds) than incumbent Tim Masthay (4.28). However, Masthay averaged 48.0 yards on his six punts, while Mandell averaged 45.3 yards on his six. It's the first time since Masthay won the job in 2010 that there's been a second punter in camp.

  • Crosby's connection: It may have had nothing to do with the holder, but it's worth noting that Mason Crosby's two missed field goals -- wide left from 40 and 45 yards -- both came with Mandell as his holder. He was perfect with Masthay, his long-time holder. Crosby made six of eight kicks overall.

  • Matthews' position: As expected, Clay Matthews lined up at inside linebacker (along with Sam Barrington) in the base 3-4 package, but moved to outside linebacker in obvious passing situations. Nate Palmer also got some work alongside Barrington with the defensive starters.

  • Updating the injuries: In addition to Rollins, three other players failed their physicals and could not practice on Thursday. Outside linebacker Mike Neal, who missed the entire offseason, is recovering from a hernia. Rookie receiver Ricky Collins (heel) and rookie running back John Crockett (ankle) were injured in minicamp. Neal, Collins and Crockett are on the physically unable to perform list.

  • Quarless update: Tight end Andrew Quarless was excused for personal reasons. On Wednesday, McCarthy said it was because of a positive family situation, which is what he typically says when a player's wife or girlfriend is having a baby. On Thursday, McCarthy said Quarless is "dealing with a very difficult, extremely difficult family situation right now. So he's with his family, and he'll be gone as long as he needs to be."

  • Welcome back, Charlie: Former Packers safety Charlie Peprah is spending the summer as an intern in the team’s scouting department.