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 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -It isn't exactly a contract holdout, but Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant sat out Tuesday morning's mandatory minicamp practice as he and the team continue to work on a new deal.
Grant, a relative unknown who was traded to Green Bay just before the start of last season and went on to have a breakout year, hopes to prod the Packers into giving him a long-term contract.
But Grant doesn't want to anger his coaches or teammates in the process, so he has been in Green Bay for the team's offseason workout program, attended meetings and been present for practices - even if he isn't participating in them.
``I want to let it be known that I'm a part of this team and I want to be one of the leaders,'' Grant said Tuesday. ``I want to do everything possible. The business aspect doesn't allow me to practice, but everything I can do, I'm definitely doing.''
Grant was in uniform Tuesday morning, hitting a blocking sled at the other end of the Packers' indoor practice facility while his teammates ran plays.
But sitting out practice didn't prevent Grant from getting slightly banged-up, as a teammate accidentally tipped a ball into his face during an informal drill.
``We do a little ball drill at the end of practice, and me and Vernand Morency have a little game where we throw the ball at each other fast,'' Grant said. ``I was actually paying attention, but somebody else hit the ball and it knocked me in my face.''
Speaking in the Packers' locker room, Grant held a cup full of ice to his swollen lip but managed to keep his sense of humor.
``It wasn't done purposely, so I understand,'' Grant said. ``But I'm going to get him back.''
Grant acknowledged that he was missing important practice time by sitting out, but said being present in meetings and at least observing practices was better than not being there at all.
``I'm not trying to come from a place of a boycott or anything like that,'' Grant said. ``I understand that I need to be up here as much as anybody else - but probably more. We need to be here as a team, guys need to be here and I want to be a part of that.''
And Grant said it was tough not to practice with his teammates.
``Even though I get a chance to be around the guys and I'm participating in everything but practice, the fact that I don't get a chance to take reps, it's rough,'' Grant said.
Grant said he was ``absolutely'' optimistic that a deal would get done before training camp.
``We've been talking, and we're moving forward,'' Grant said.
Last week, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he didn't expect a deal to get done with Grant before the mandatory minicamp and didn't expect Grant to participate. McCarthy hasn't been critical of Grant for sitting out previous voluntary practices.
``I think he has done the best that he possibly can, based on their approach, and that is really what I keep focused on,'' McCarthy said last week. ``It's a business matter, and he will stay the course and hopefully we'll get it resolved.''
In Grant's absence, the Packers are getting an extended look at second-year backs Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn.
Jackson, a second-round pick out of Nebraska last year, struggled as the starter early in the season but performed well as Grant's backup in the final weeks of the season.
``I'm taking advantage of it,'' Jackson said. ``It's going well right now and I'm just trying to press on and do bigger things from last year.''
Wynn, a seventh-round pick out of Florida last year, showed some big-play ability before he was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury last October.
Grant's absence also could be a boost for Morency, who played mostly as a third-down back last season after injuring his knee in training camp and struggling to get back up to speed, and Noah Herron, who missed last season with a knee injury.
``They're getting looks in all situations,'' McCarthy said. ``That's been their strength as far as the way they've been rotated into game plans and how we've used them in games. But Noah Herron has rushed for 100 yards for us and so has Mo, so I don't just look at them as situation players.''
Notes: CB Charles Woodson was not present for Tuesday morning's practice. McCarthy said he was excused for personal reasons and was expected to return Tuesday afternoon.

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