It's back to school for Packers' first-round pick Kenny Clark

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The last thing Kenny Clark wants to do after a three-day taste of the NFL life is board a plane for California. The Green Bay Packers' first-round pick would much rather come back to Lambeau Field on Monday to join his new teammates in the offseason workout program.

A long-standing NFL rule prohibits Clark and at least two other members of general manager Ted Thompson’s rookie class from doing so. Rookies can’t take part in team activities (other than the rookie camp) until their schools are out of session. Because Clark’s UCLA is on the quarter system, which runs into June, he’ll miss at least the next month of training at Lambeau Field. Fifth-round pick Trevor Davis, a receiver from Cal, and sixth-round pick Kyle Murphy, a tackle from Stanford, also fall into the same category.

“I wish I could stay here,” Clark said this week. “I leave on Sunday. I wish I could stay here throughout the whole process, but I think that will probably be one of the more difficult parts -- that I won’t be here with the team.”

One other Stanford alum, fourth-round linebacker Blake Martinez, said he will be allowed to stay in Green Bay because he already has earned his degree. Martinez said his agents, Jared Fox and Dave Butz, checked with the league to make sure he’s allowed to stay with the team.

The rule has been in place for years, but it applies to only a few schools that remain on the quarter system.

“This is a common practice,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said during the team’s rookie orientation camp on Saturday. “There’s a plan. We’ll maximize the time with Kenny here today and tomorrow. We’ll make sure he’s ready. We have a number of guys that are in that situation, and we’ll just use our experiences from the past to make sure we get them ready.”

The Packers dealt with the same situation last year with another Stanford draft pick, receiver Ty Montgomery. He missed most of the OTA practices but was able to practice a few times in June before the team broke for the summer.

“You obviously don’t have the reps,” McCarthy said of players who have to miss time in the offseason. “There’s definitely a transition period. It’s never the same for one player, so that transition period will go into the summer and, obviously, we’ll make sure they’re ready for training camp.”

Clark, who entered the draft after his junior season, said he’s still enrolled in school at UCLA for the spring semester. Some players take the semester off to prepare for the draft.

“I’ll continue to work out, and I’m pretty sure I’ll get a playbook or something before I leave,” Clark said. “So I’ll get in the playbook and handle all that stuff.”