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Packers deliberate on re-signing Tauscher

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The Green Bay Packers have been interested in re-signing veteran tackle Mark Tauscher.

But at the NFL's owners' meetings Tuesday, Coach Mike McCarthy said the team might have to move on without him.

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Tauscher, 31, has been working hard to recover from a torn ACL ligament in his left knee, suffered last Dec. 7 against Houston.

But McCarthy says Tauscher might not be ready to return until next October, as the normal recovery time is 8 to10 months.

He's an unrestricted free agent. The coach said it would be a tough decision on whether Tauscher returns, but McCarthy says the nine-year pro is a great leader.

Meanwhile, McCarthy says middle linebacker Nick Barnett is ahead of schedule in recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee.

The coach said Barnett looked good working out late last week.

Defensive end Cullen Jenkins is still feeling the effects of surgery on the pectoral muscle he tore last Sept. 28. And he's also rehabilitating his left ankle following arthroscopic surgery.

Defensive tackle Justin Harrell has not been cleared for full activity, as he continues to recover from a lingering back injury. McCarthy says Harrell is doing what he can and he won't know his true condition until they start practicing in pads.

As for future drafts, in the past, Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson has said he drafts the best player available when the Packers are "on the clock."

But after a 6-10 season a year ago, Thompson is not denying that he might draft to fill a need next month.

Green Bay has the ninth pick in the first round. And if a top-caliber player is not available by then, Thompson says whoever's available should not be that much of a drop-off.

Thompson still believes a draft cannot be based on need, but said "you never know" when it comes to the top pick.

He would not comment on specific possibilities.

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