Packers' Harris eager to return from knee injury

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Packers cornerback Al Harris said Wednesday he will be back on the field with Green Bay this year after major knee injury abruptly ended last season.

In his first comments in the Packers locker room since the injury, Harris said never thought about calling it quits.

"There's no doubt in my mind. If there were, then I wouldn't be here, standing here now," the 13-year veteran said after the second of four public organized team activities this offseason.

Harris tore a ligament in his left knee on Nov. 22 against the 49ers while defending San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree. He needed season-ending surgery and there had been questions whether the veteran would return.

Harris said it was tough to watch Green Bay lose to Arizona in the first round of the playoffs in January.

"That was hard, the bits and pieces that I did watch," he said. "It's still hard to watch, even watching practice. But that's a part of it, and that fuels you, to watch the guys go out there and work, to watch your friends play cohesive as a group.

"So that helps in my rehab, I could go in and work on range of motion or work on backpedaling, breaking, stuff like that."

In the meantime, cornerbacks Pat Lee and Brandon Underwood are getting extending reps to ramp up their development in time for training camp with Harris and cornerback Charles Woodson out.

"Those guys are going to come back and try to get their work in, so it's going to be hard, reps are going to be less. So you have to get it all in now," said Lee, who missed most of last season with his own knee injury.

There were several videos of Harris posted during his rehab process to show the step-by-step work he's put into returning, and he said the worst part was getting back his range of motion.

"Anybody who's had this type of injury would probably tell you that getting the range back, that's the most painful part," he said. "That's just something you've got to block out."

Harris doesn't know if he'll be ready to play in time for the season opener or if he'll be put on the physically unable to perform list, which would mean he would miss at least the first six weeks of the season. "If it's up to me and up to me working to get out there, then I'll be out there," Harris said. "But we've got to with the protocol and do what's right for the team and do what's right by me."

The Packers are expected to be among the league's best teams, and Harris' teammates showed a feisty side Wednesday. Backup offensive tackle Breno Giacomini and linebacker Brad Jones got into a scuffle that held things up for several minutes, though both downplayed the incident afterward.

"It might have brought a little bit of extra juice to the end of practice, but that's not something that the coaches really look forward to having in practice," Giacomini said. "One thing turns into another, and that happens. You've just got to stop, control it and talk to him. Not tonight, but in a few days."