Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb was in obvious pain at the end of practice. The team's top pass-catcher, Cobb stayed on the field anyway.
Only afterward did he admit he should have been smarter with the biceps injury that's been bothering him since an Aug. 3 scrimmage. By the end of Tuesday's practice, Cobb was wincing, holding his right arm close to his body and clearly in pain during an 11-on-11 competitive team period.
"Yeah, I have some pain in it. So (I'm) just dealing with that," Cobb said. "The hardest part for me is, I'm a tough guy, I want to be on the field. I don't like missing practice. I hate missing practice. So trying to be smart and be tough at the same time is difficult for me, but I understand that I have limitations and I have to be smart about it. But it's hard and difficult at times."
Asked if he was smart Tuesday, Cobb replied simply, "No."
The Packers can't afford to lose Cobb, who led the team in receiving last year (80 receptions, 954 yards, eight touchdowns). Not only is wide receiver Jordy Nelson sidelined for the rest of camp after having a nerve procedure done on his knee, but Cobb and his versatility are vital to the Packers' offense.
Coach Mike McCarthy undoubtedly would prefer Cobb not try to be a tough guy. It was McCarthy who stopped right guard T.J. Lang, who was dressed for practice, from participating Tuesday because of a back injury Lang planned to play through.
"Whether I agreed with it or not, it's his decision, so I had to go with it," Lang said. "Randall, I know he's been battling through some pain and it really comes down to a pride thing. You don't want to be missing time if you don't have to. If your injury is not allowing you to do your job to the best of your abilities, then it might be a better idea to make sure you're healthy before you get on the field again.
"It really comes down to being smart, making sure you're always communicating if something is bothering you. There's a fine line - a lot of guys just try to tough it out. There's a lot of pride there."
Cobb was held out of the team's preseason opener Friday night against Arizona. After practice, McCarthy sounded as though Cobb would be told to take some time off.
"In Randall's case, it's something that we understand what the injury (is), and we wouldn't put him out there if we thought he was in jeopardy of moving forward and getting healthy," McCarthy said. "But every case is different. . In Randall's case, it's probably something he's going to be battling for a while."
Cobb, who missed the 2011 regular-season finale as a rookie with a groin injury and missed last year's regular-season finale with a knee injury, said he believes playing through pain serves a dual purpose: It prepares him for when something happens to him when the games count and he has to stay on the field, and that practice is vital because he needs the work.
"I know at some point during the season I'm going to be in pain and I'm going to have to play and I'm going to have to be productive when I do play. So trying to push through right now is more of a mindset for me," Cobb explained.
Asked if he was happy with the camp he's had to this point, Cobb replied, "No I haven't. I still feel like I have a lot of work to do, and that's another reason why I don't want to miss practice."