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Friday, August 7, 2009
Packers, Raji still waiting

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We've reached the part of training camp where an unsigned draft choice ceases to be a fresh news story and thus falls off the ledge of daily discussion. Unless a miraculous deal occurs in the next hour or so, Green Bay defensive tackle B.J. Raji will miss his ninth practice Friday amid a continued logjam atop the NFL draft class.

As of Friday morning, all but one of the players drafted between No. 6 and No. 12 were unsigned. Oakland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey's bloated $38 million deal is one of the causes, as is the unusual demands and situation surrounding San Francisco and receiver Michael Crabtree at No. 10.

I caught up Friday with Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson, who seems resigned to the fact that Raji and the Packers are caught up in a larger market issue. The Packers have been hoping Raji can step in at left defensive end, a position he rarely played in college, but Thompson isn't ready to hit the dump button on that plan just yet.

"I think every situation is a little different," Thompson said. "It kind of depends on the kid and what you're going to ask him to do and that sort of thing. He's missing some valuable rep time, but we're not wringing our hands over it. There's nothing really we can do about it. It's just part of the business. It's a frustrating part, but it is what it is. Hopefully we can get that done and get him back out here. I'm sure he wants to be a part of this."

The Packers are back on the field at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon. I'll be there and will check back with you afterwards.