GREEN BAY, Wis. — Ha Ha Clinton-Dix returned to Lambeau Field for Green Bay Packers minicamp after the safety cited personal issues for missing some voluntary offseason workouts.
Clinton-Dix said that the death of his godmother following a heart attack hit him hard. She was a school principal who played a formative role in Clinton-Dix's upbringing.
"I learned everything. I learned the principles of being a young man, not taking anything for granted," he said.
Having the opportunity to spend time with family meant a lot to him.
"But, you know, my family means everything to me," Clinton-Dix said after practice Tuesday. "If I have the opportunity to be home with them, I would love to be home with them."
The safety's absence during some voluntary workouts in May and early June was notable given that the Packers have a new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine. A Pro Bowler in 2016, Clinton-Dix is part of the core of a defense hoping to improve following a lackluster 2017 season.
He's also entering the option year of the rookie contract signed after being drafted in the first round in 2014 out of Alabama.
Asked why he missed some of the workouts, Clinton-Dix first said "family issues," then winked .
Asked if his absence wasn't contract related, the fifth-year pro replied "personal issues."
Later, Clinton-Dix said he had no deadline to get a new deal done. He doesn't sound like someone who plans to hold out, either.
"What would it do, though?" Clinton-Dix said. "You're just wasting your time, really. You're getting fined and fined and fined. I'm a guy that, I need my money, man. That's why I'm here now. I need my money."
Clinton-Dix was in Green Bay for three weeks at the start of the offseason program in April. He had his team-issued tablet computer the entire time while he was away to watch practices.
If there were any questions, Clinton-Dix would contact position coach Joe Whitt. A member of the coaching staff would get back to him with an answer, or send another video clip to help.
"Well, you guys can take attendance. It's a mandatory minicamp, so things step up. But I feel really good, Ha Ha all the way through," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We've had change, we've transitioned through that."
McCarthy followed recent tradition and excused 16 veterans with six or more years of experience from this week's minicamp, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers. So practices this week can especially help rookies or younger players lower on the depth chart make impressions on the coaching staff.
Still, any time on the practice field with a player with Pro Bowl potential such as Clinton-Dix can help as the Packers hope to finish the offseason program strong before going on summer break.
"Scheme or not, all you've got to do is (say) 'You've got this, you've got this' and he's going to go out there and play," second-year cornerback Kevin King said. "Playbook-wise, I'm not worried about that. Ha Ha is going to be Ha Ha."
Always confident, Clinton-Dix used word play when asked if minicamp was a time when he could play catch-up. Pettine's scheme appears to play to Clinton-Dix's strength and allow him to spend more time closer to the line of scrimmage, rather than 20 yards out.
"I love ketchup. Love it on my hot dogs, love it on my hamburgers and I love it on my fries," Clinton-Dix said. "Catch-up won't be a problem."