Packers Notes: Green Stays In Plan
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Jason Wilde

INDIANAPOLIS - Ted Thompson didn't want to use the word optimistic, but the Green Bay Packers' general manager seems to like his team's chances of retaining unrestricted free-agent running back Ahman Green.

"Optimism is sort of a sticky phrase," Thompson said during a break in the NFL scouting combine. "We have conversations with his people every day. I told Ahman before he left that we would like to have him back, and that's still the same. Now it's up to the business part of it to work itself out."

The business part could be tricky. The free-agency period opens Friday, and while Green came back from a 2005 ruptured quadriceps tendon to rush for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games last season, he turned 30 earlier this month and it's hard to gauge what his market value will be.

Last year, the Packers re-signed him to a one-year, $2 million incentive-laden contract just before free agency opened, and Green wound up earning an additional $750,000 in incentives. It's hard to tell what the market will bear this year if he gets there.

Asked whether the watered-down crop of unrestricted running backs concerns him, Thompson replied, "Free agency is free agency. You can't necessarily go through life being afraid of it. We've told Ahman we'd like to have him back; if it works out, that's great. If it doesn't, then we have to overcome and adapt. That's just what you have to do."

Green, who is 46 yards shy of breaking Jim Taylor's team rushing record of 8,207 yards, is scheduled to appear at the club's annual Fan Fest celebration at Lambeau Field March 9 and 10, a week after free agency begins, which would indicate he expects to re-sign.

"He's a big part of our history, without a doubt. And I definitely think he wants to stay in Green Bay," running backs coach Edgar Bennett said. "But this is the side of the business that you never know what can happen. Hopefully things can work out."

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