Packers sign RB Green to long-term deal
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Green Bay Press Gazette

By Bob Berghaus

The Green Bay Packers on Tuesday sent a clear message that Ahman Green is their top running back for the foreseeable future by signing the fourth-year running back to a deal that will keep him in a Packers uniform for at least five more years.

Green, who emerged as the Packers’ starting running back after Dorsey Levens was injured last season, rushed for a career-best 1,175 yards on 263 carries. In addition to leading the club in rushing, he also was first in pass receptions with 73, becoming the first player since Barty Smith in 1977 to lead the Packers in both rushing and receiving.

His 73 catches were the second most by a Packers running back, five less than the 78 Edgar Bennett caught in 1994.

“I’m thrilled we can get this deal done before the season,” said Packers coach/general manager Mike Sherman. “He wanted to play in green Bay and we wanted him here.”

Green finished the season with 13 touchdowns. His 10 rushing touchdowns were the most by a Packers’ back since Terdell Middleton had 11 in 1978.

Green, who was acquired in a trade from Seattle prior to the 2000 season, played in 16 games for the Packers last season. He started 11, including the final eight. Green rushed for 100 or more yards three times last season, all during the last half of the season. His best performance was a 161-yard effort on 25 carries in a 33-28 victory at Minnesota in the second last game of the season.

Levens played in only five games last season because of tendonitis in both knees and a sprained left ankle. Because of the emergence of Green, the Packers reworked Levens’ deal and reduced his salary. He had been scheduled to count $7.4 million against this year’s salary cap, but the new deal saved the Packers about $4.5 million.

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