Mike Neal is facing a four-game suspension, though the third-year defensive end says the book hasn’t been closed on the matter.
“I’m getting ready for Week 1 because Im going to appeal my situation and I plan on playing Week 1 until further notice,” he told reporters after Tuesday’s organized team activity.
Neal was suspended for four games for performance-enhancing drugs. Neal, however, said it was for Adderall, a prescription medication typically given for ADHD but was prescribed to him to combat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Adderall is not a banned substance; Neal was suspended because he didn’t get the prescription from a team-employed doctor and, therefore, didn’t get approval from the league.
Neal said one appeal to to the league has been denied — he said the “NFL didn’t give me a fair chance.” There is some history on his side, however. Last week, the NFL overturned its four-game suspension of Giants running back Andre Brown, who also was penalized for what he called a “paperwork” issue with his Adderall prescription.
“If you look at Adderall, are you going to come in here and run faster, jump higher, block some passes and sack some quarterbacks?” Neal asked. “In my eyes, I didn’t do anything wrong. In my eyes, I just went and sought help that I thought I needed. I didn’t go through the team, I went through another doctor. If that was my fault for not being responsible and going through the team, that was my fault and I’ll take that. But as far as Im concerned if you consider Adderall a performance-enhancing drug then I think that everybody would be fired for their jobs.”
A second-round pick in 2010, Neal played in only two games as a rookie and seven games in 2011, when he suffered a knee injury in training camp. An offseason of rest has Neal feeling ready to compete.
Whenever he’s allowed to.
"The only response I can give you is I'm great,” he said. “I've been through a lot and I'm satisfied. I'm satisfied with the way it panned out. You can't help the hand that you've been dealt. I know I've said this and it might sound cliche, but God's got a plan for everybody. You can't tell how it's all going to work out. I didn't plan on coming here and everything working out this way. But I feel good. I'm excited. I'm happy. I'm not mad. I feel great. I'm just having a ball."
— The mandatory minicamp will be held June 12 through June 14. The practice that starts at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, June 12, will be the only one open to the public.
“The practices,” coach Mike McCarthy said, “will be very situation conscious and trying to hit every situation in practice, as opposed to when you go through the OTAs, you might emphasize red zone, two minute and certain types of pressures one day. Minicamp will reflect more of what a real football game will look (like).”
— Second-year tight end D.J. Williams made the play of the day. Williams was running deep against safety M.D. Jennings and tipped an underthrown pass to himself, then jumped again to make a one-handed grab. Late in practice, however, he was wide open over the middle and dropped a perfectly thrown pass.
— Not practicing were running back Alex Green, cornerback Charles Woodson, safety Charlie Peprah, fullback John Kuhn, outside linebacker Frank Zombo, defensive lineman Johnny Jones, guard Jaymes Brooks, defensive tackle Mike Daniels, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, tight end Andrew Quarless, receiver Greg Jennings and defensive end Lawrence Guy. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews and tight end Jermichael Finley took part in a few individual drills but mostly sat out. Returning to action were fullback Jon Hoese and left tackle Marshall Newhouse.
— McCarthy, on quarterback Graham Harrell’s development: “I think everybody would agree that Graham’s throwing with more velocity, and I would say that that starts with him. That’s a credit to really what he’s done from the end of last season until now. He’s stronger. He’s done an excellent job in the weight room. He’s done a few things fundamentally, where we could help him with his power side, just the throwing mechanics, and you’ll see that improve as time goes on. Anytime you make changes like that, it’ll show up in the individual drills first and eventually show up in the team drills.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.