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Injured Packers upset about team photo

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Rob Demovsky
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011
 

In the first of what is sure to be several mini-controversies that take on lives of their own in advance of Super Bowl XLV, at least two Green Bay players on injured reserve have expressed disappointment they won't be in the team picture that will be taken in Arlington, Texas, during Media Day.

Through their Twitter accounts, linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finley indicated the decision didn't sit well with them.

The problem, from the Packers' point of view, is they're not the only two players on injured reserve. Had the Packers not had 15 players on injured reserve, things might have been handled differently.

"It was a team decision driven by the sheer number of players on IR," a Packers spokesman said. "Our primary focus is to get the team ready to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every decision we make is about trying to win a world championship."

There are logistical reasons that the injured-reserve players won't be part of the team picture.

The Packers are off site, meaning their medical/training facilities won't be as extensive as they are at team headquarters, where they can handle more injured players. In Arlington, the team will need all the space possible to treat the active players with injuries and therefore might not be able to treat the injured-reserve players who need attention.

The injured-reserve players will join the team Thursday in Arlington. They will be on the sideline during the game and will be entitled to all the benefits the rest of the players receive.

In a text message to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Barnett said: "Well they don't want IR players down there till Thursday, but I have heard in the past other (teams) don't do that."

Earlier in the day, Barnett tweeted: "Kinda sad. Found out basically IR guys can not be in team picture. .. It's kinda sad to think.. Just goes you injured yourself you not part ..."

Finley tweeted: "I never trip (about) anything, but the way IR players are getting treated not cool."

Barnett, via Twitter, later apologized.

"I was not trying to be a distraction nor was I downing the organization they have done so much for me over last 8 years. ... Just saying I am sad that it worked out the way it did. This game is bigger then my feelings and my body of work. It's about 'One Goal!' "

Hornung picks Packers

Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung is siding with some old friends in the Super Bowl.

The former Packers running back said his old team will beat the Steelers by a field goal.

Hornung said the Packers could be on the verge of a dynasty similar to the one he helped the team build in the 1960s, when Green Bay won five NFL titles, including the first two Super Bowls.

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