- Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Seen and heard at the Green Bay Packers' first open OTA session of the offseason on Thursday:
No Nelson: Jordy Nelson was the biggest name on the sidelines, and he was vague about his return. The Pro Bowl receiver would not even confirm what kind of surgery he had on his hip this offseason. "Don't have any worries about anything that's of importance down the road," Nelson said. "But we feel excited about where we're at." Nelson said his hip bothered him last season, when he set career-highs with 98 catches and 1,519 yards. "Obviously if it didn't bother me, I probably wouldn't have had the surgery," Nelson said. "But nothing major. I had an opportunity to get some things cleaned up. We did it, and I think it was a good move and feel good about where we’re at moving forward."
Starting corner: Casey Hayward's bid to replace Tramon Williams as the staring left cornerback is off to a slow start. Hayward did not practice Thursday and said he has missed most of the offseason workouts because of a foot injury. Second-year pro Demetri Goodson, who did not play a single snap on defense last year, was paired with Sam Shields as the No. 1 corners. First-round pick Damarious Randall, who missed rookie camp with an ankle injury, did only individual drills. Second-round pick Quinten Rollins worked with the No. 2 defense at right cornerback.
Quick recovery: All three players coming off ACL reconstructions – receiver Jared Abbrederis, guard/tackle Don Barclay and outside linebacker Andy Mulumba – took part in individual drills but did not do any 11-on-11. Abbrederis and Barclay were injured early in training camp last year, and Mulumba was injured in Week 2 against the New York Jets. Their early return to practice suggests all could be ready for full-time participation in training camp. "I have no long-term concerns medically with anybody on our roster right now," coach Mike McCarthy said.
Raji at the nose: There appeared to be no limitations on B.J. Raji, who missed all of last season because of a torn biceps tendon. Raji did both individual and team drills and was back at his old nose tackle position. That meant Letroy Guion, who filled in for Raji at nose last year, moved to end in the base 3-4 defense.
New drills: The most interesting new drill in practice came during a punt return period. The returners each had a ball in their left hand while trying to field a punt with their right hand. Randall Cobb, Micah Hyde, Abbrederis and Rollins were the primary returners. Rollins muffed several returns before he got the hang of the drill.
Play of the day: Hyde came all the way from the slot position to make a leaping interception along the sideline during an 11-on-11 period. He picked off a Scott Tolzien pass intended for rookie receiver Javess Blue on a fade route.
Taking attendance: A total of nine players missed practice completely. Quarterback Brett Hundley and receiver Ty Montgomery were in Los Angeles for the NFL Rookie Premier event. Rookie linebacker James Vaughters could not participate because his alma mater, Stanford, is still in session. Both he and Montgomery, also from Stanford, should return for the minicamp June 16-18. Outside linebacker Julius Peppers was ill. He practiced the previous day, which was closed to reporters. Those out with injuries were: Hayward, Nelson, outside linebacker Nick Perry, outside linebacker Mike Neal and defensive end Josh Boyd.