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Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams said everything is fine between him and Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis after the two spoke face-to-face this week for the first time since Adams accused Davis of “head hunting” for a blindside hit that gave him a concussion.Adams said Thursday that Davis sought him out on Monday, when the NFC players arrived in Orlando for the Pro Bowl, and apologized for the hit, which occurred late in the Panthers’ 31-24 victory at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 17.

“He came and hollered at me the first day,” Adams told ESPN. “It happened about a little over a month ago now so we kind of settled it. I’m trying to let bygones be bygones.

“Obviously you don’t forget things like that, but at the same time we’re teammates out here and you want to be civil and still have a good time so that’s what it’s about.”

The day after the play happened, Adams, via Twitter, accused Davis of “head hunting” because he led with his helmet. Adams posted a series of tweets critical of the hit and Davis, who responded to one of the tweets and apologized.

“In no way was I trying to hurt you,” Davis tweeted. “My first instinct was turn and make a block. In all sincerity I do apologize. I truly respect you as a player and I made a mistake!”

That was the second concussion that Adams had suffered in 2017.

Davis was suspended two games by the NFL for the hit. He told ESPN on Thursday that he wanted to apologize to Adams in person. “That was one of the things that I was most looking forward to, having that opportunity to sit down face-to-face with him and kind of explain my side of that situation, officially apologize to him face-to-face,” Davis said. “It wasn’t anything malicious and I said that to him in the message, but just I just really wanted to reiterate what I said to him in that message on social media.”

Davis said it was received well and that Adams accepted his apology.

“He said he understood,” Davis said. “He said that he was emotional when it happened. He was mad. But we’ve talked it out. We’re in a good place right now.”

Having won the Walter Payton Man of the Year, Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year and Bart Starr Award in his past, Davis has enjoyed a sterling reputation across the league when it comes to character.

He acknowledged that it’s been a challenge, however, conforming to new league rules as they pertain to hard hitting and avoiding the head and neck area. It was a much different league when he entered it in 2004 and he admitted that he is still figuring out how to adjust.

“The guys I looked up to when I started — Derrick Brooks, Ray Lewis — the way that those guys played the game. I just try to mirror my game after that,” Davis said. “But at the same time, we’re moving to a different place in the NFL and guys like myself just have to understand that we have to comply with the rules.”

Davis added, “It’s definitely a lot harder to conform. It takes some time, just changing up the style of play.”

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If Davante Adams had not already proved his worth to the Green Bay Packers, what he did without Aaron Rodgers solidified it.

In parts of seven games with Brett Hundley as his quarterback, Adams caught 46 passes for 543 yards and five touchdowns. In parts of seven games with Rodgers as his quarterback, he caught 28 passes for 342 yards and five touchdowns.

He was the Packers’ only receiver who managed consistent production after Rodgers broke his collarbone on Oct. 15.

It’s why last week coach Mike McCarthy, for the first time ever, proclaimed that Adams was the Packers’ “best perimeter player.” It was an unofficial moniker that previously belonged to Jordy Nelson.

The only issue with signing Adams to a four-year, $58.75 million contract on Friday was his concussion history. The 25-year-old suffered his third concussion in 14 months when Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis hit him with a blindside block on Dec. 17 at Carolina. Adams hasn’t played since, although it’s unclear if he could have played this week had the Packers not been eliminated from playoff consideration.

Adams returned without missing a game following his first two concussions, including the vicious hit he took earlier this year from Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan.

Last week, it was suggested to Adams’ teammate, Randall Cobb, that Adams shouldn’t play another game until he got a new contract.

“OK, well you tell him that,” Cobb said. “I’ll let you tell him that.”

Either way, the Packers did right by Adams with this deal.

They could have had him for somewhere in the $9 million to $10 million per year neighborhood had they done a deal in August or September, but Adams’ price just kept going up during the season.

Who knows what Adams would have drawn had the Packers let him get to free agency in March, especially if teams felt comfortable with his concussion history.

The Packers clearly did, even though they need to look back only one year at the case of cornerback Sam Shields, whose career ended last season because of multiple concussions. Shields was older (age 29) when the Packers released him with one year left on a four-year, $39 million contract in February. Shields suffered a concussion in the 2016 season opener and never played again. It was the fourth known concussion of his NFL career.

Adams’ known concussion count is at three in his four NFL seasons. As long as it stays that way, the Packers should be glad they kept their best perimeter player.

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Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis provided the latest example of why the NFL will take a serious look this winter at instituting a “targeting” rule, one that would force an automatic ejection for a hit above the shoulders to a defenseless player.

Davis leveled Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams during an interception return in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, illegally making helmet-to-helmet contact from the side and inflicting a concussion. The Panthers were penalized 15 yards, but Davis was allowed to continue playing. (He will face discipline, and possibly a future suspension from the NFL.) If this season has shown us anything, it’s that the league’s current rules aren’t curbing dangerous hits to the head as well as they should.

NFL officials have the right to eject players for such hits but are clearly reluctant to. None of the 15 ejections in the NFL this season have been for on-field incidents. When he acknowledged the possibility of a targeting rule earlier this month, NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent noted it can serve as a “deterrent.” It would also lift the responsibility of ejections from officials and make them automatic every time they called a penalty that fell under the rule.

Would targeting actually deter helmet-to-helmet shots on defenseless players? As we noted recently, results from the college targeting rule are mixed at best. But if you operate under the assumption that the NFL will follow every avenue to minimize hits to the head, whether its intent is genuine or for public relations, you can expect a serious targeting discussion this offseason. Davis’ hit on Adams and the minimal immediate consequences he faced for it are the latest reasons why.

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Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams had already slipped out of the locker room after last Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, but fellow Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb felt comfortable enough to speak for the group.

“We always talk about, as a receiving group, this offense goes through us,” Cobb said. “We’ve got to do a better job when we have those opportunities.”

But what could Cobb & Co. do with so few opportunities in quarterback Brett Hundley’s first start?

“That’s not my job,” Cobb said. “That’s how it works, but that’s not my job to do that. My job is to execute the plays that’s called.”

It was a better question for coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett. The offensive brain trust admitted they need to get the ball in the hands of their perimeter playmakers far more often than they did.

“We do, and we will,” Bennett said. “You can go back and look at the game, we had some opportunities, but we also when those opportunities came about, maybe there was a breakdown from a fundamental standpoint as far as from pass protection, and it wasn’t quite as clean as it needs to be as far as keeping Brett in rhythm and keeping him on his time clock. I think it all plays a factor in our plan and what we plan on doing, going out and executing.”

Now, they have the bye week to figure out how to do it. Whatever the solution, they must take the training wheels off Hundley. For the Packers to have any chance to remain a playoff contender without Aaron Rodgers, they will have to put Hundley in position to get the ball to Cobb, Nelson and Adams along with tight end Martellus Bennett.

“Jordy Nelson, Davante, Marty, Randall Cobb, those guys have got to touch the ball,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t get that done. Now, how many times have we run for 180-plus yards? Not very often. You’re supposed to win those games. So, we have a lot to build off of.”

The running game that featured a 131-yard performance from rookie Aaron Jones was supposed to take some of the pressure off Hundley and keep defenses honest. But until Hundley shows he can push the ball down the field — or McCarthy shows that he will let Hundley do so — then teams might dare the Packers to throw it.

Hundley completed just 12-of-25 passes for 87 with no touchdowns and an interception. He was just the third Packers quarterback in the past 35 seasons to throw at least 25 times with fewer than 100 yards passing (Brett Favre in Week 11 of 2003 at Tampa Bay and Don Majkowski in Week 9 of 1988 at Buffalo were the others).

“You can’t let him feel the weight of the world,” McCarthy said. “It’s part of the playing the position, I get that. Just stay in tune with what he’s being asked to do. Is the game plan as big as it was the week before? Absolutely not. We need to be more creative and make sure we’re giving him the things that he needs. You have to be in tune with what his training is and what he’s done in fitting the time clock with the perimeter because at the end of the day when you call a football game you have to get the ball to your playmakers. And we didn’t get that done.”

Hundley failed to complete any of his throws that went 15 yards or more downfield, but there were only four of them, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and one was picked off. He completed only 3 of 8 passes for 25 yards when he targeted Nelson and Adams. Rodgers, by comparison, completed 64 percent to those two this season, including 10 touchdowns.

“I get what the numbers say, but the offense had 50 plays, the defense had 75,” McCarthy said. “When you’re going to break down Brett’s snaps, you have to look at opportunities, and you look at the opportunities, you look at the execution of those opportunities. He will do better, because the majority of his issues were more in the area of time clock and timing.

“He wasn’t given a lot of opportunities and we were 4-for-11 on third down, so we get two or three more third downs, defense gets off the field, maybe we’re having a different story that we’re talking about right now.”

McCarthy remained as emphatic in his support for Hundley as he was last week before his first start.

“I feel the same way today as I did going into the week,” McCarthy said. “I know this young man, I believe in him. That’s the direction we’re going.”

 

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The Green Bay Packers might have to be willing to pay Davante Adams like one of the NFL’s top receivers in order to keep him after this season.

We’re talking Dez Bryant money.

Adams, a second-round pick in 2014, is in the final year of his rookie contract, and he will have to be one of general manager Ted Thompson’s top priorities (along with center Corey Linsley and perhaps safety Morgan Burnett) before the free-agent market opens in March.

Adams won’t be cheap, not after what he’s done in his past 21 games. Among all NFL players, he’s second in touchdown catches with 16 since the start of the 2016 season. Among receivers only, he’s tied for 18th in catches and 20th in yards. Taking those three categories into account and comparing him to the highest-paid receivers in the league, Adams belongs among the top five.

That’s where Bryant sits with the contract he signed in 2015. He’s No. 5 on the NFL receiver pay scale with an average of $14 million per season. His deal included a $20 million signing bonus and $45 million guaranteed.

A look at the top-paid receivers in the league shows Adams’ production since the start of last season compares favorably. Combining Adams’ ranking among receivers in the three major categories (catches, yards and touchdowns) has an average rank of 13.3 (the average of tied for 18th in catches, 20th in yards and second in touchdowns). Antonio Brown, the NFL’s highest paid receiver, has the highest average ranking in those three categories at 2.33.

Adams’ mark of 13.3 would rank fifth among the top 12 highest paid receivers in the league over the same stretch, which is where the Bryant comparison comes in. Bryant’s average rank in those three categories is 28.7, although he’s played in three fewer games than Adams since the start of 2016.

They shared the field on Sunday at AT&T Stadium, and Adams had the upper hand. He caught seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 11 seconds left. Bryant caught five for 55 yards and a touchdown.

The Packers already have two receivers on their roster making about $10 million per season. Randall Cobb, who signed a four-year, $40 million deal in 2015, has the 13th-highest average receiver salary per season. Jordy Nelson, at $9.7 million, is 14th. Both Cobb and Nelson have one more year left on their contracts.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers hope that by the time they leave for Dallas on Saturday afternoon, receiver Davante Adams will be cleared to play Sunday against the Cowboys.

Running back Ty Montgomery might not be so lucky.

Adams has progressed through the stages of the concussion protocol since taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan — but as of Friday afternoon, Adams still had not seen the independent neurologist who needs to clear him. Because of that, he is listed as questionable.

“Really, when you deal with the doctors and availability and scheduling, with it being an away game, I would say tomorrow by the time we get on the plane would be a fair deadline,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday.

It’s possible the Packers could update Adams’ status on Saturday.

Adams practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday. Because he has not been cleared, he’s barred from talking to reporters.

Montgomery looks less likely to play after he did not take part in any of the 11-on-11 drills during Thursday’s full-pads practice. Montgomery sustained multiple broken ribs in last week’s game against the Bears. He was on the field Wednesday, wearing a protective vest under his jersey. He is listed as doubtful.

“Ty Montgomery worked in the indoor portion of practice and didn’t participate in the team periods,” McCarthy said.

Montgomery declined to speak to reporters on Friday.

If Montgomery can’t go, Green Bay will field an all-rookie running back group. Fourth-round pick Jamaal Williams, who injured his knee after Montgomery got hurt against the Bears, is good to go, and fifth-rounder Aaron Jones (who carried 13 times for 49 yards and a touchdown against Chicago) could see significant snaps.

The Packers could welcome back their two starting tackles, David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, who this season have not played a single snap at the same time. Bakhtiari has not played since he sustained a hamstring injury in the opener, and Bulaga has played only in the Week 3 game against Cincinnati, when he reinjured the right ankle he sprained in training camp. Both players are listed as questionable.

On the defensive side, the Packers appear likely to get back Mike Daniels, who had a dominant performance in Week 1 and then dropped out on the first series of the following game at Atlanta because of a hip injury, and cornerback Davon House, who also hasn’t played since he sustained a quadriceps injury against the Falcons. Both are listed as questionable, but Daniels insisted he would play and House practiced in full this week.

“It feels good,” Daniels said. “I felt good at practice running around, felt strong. So I’m just ready to roll. It’s been hard watching, you know what I’m saying?”

Outside linebacker Nick Perry will have to wear a club cast on his right hand for the second straight week. He confirmed Friday that it’s his broken pinkie finger that required surgery to have a screw inserted.

Last year, Perry broke multiple fingers on his left hand and finished the season wearing a similar cast.