PACKERS SIGN AHMAN GREEN, TEAM'S LEADING RUSHER/RECEIVER, TO FIVE-YEAR PACT
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Green Bay Packers Official Website
Explosive Ahman Green, who vaulted from obscurity into the Packers' record book last season, will be wearing a Green Bay uniform for at least five more years.
Green, who became only the seventh 1,000-yard rusher in team history while stepping in for the injured Dorsey Levens last year, has been signed through the 2005 season, Andrew Brandt, the team's director of player finance, announced today.
Green had been under a one-year contract, agreed to earlier in the offseason, as a restricted free agent.
Originally acquired from Seattle in an April 15 trade last year to provide depth behind Levens, the mercurial Green exceeded all expectations, rushing for a career-high 1,175 yards - the fourth-highest single season total in club annals - and leading the team in pass receptions (73) after becoming the full-time starter at running back in Week Six when knee injuries sidelined Levens for the balance of the season.
In so doing, he became the first player to lead the Packers in both rushing and receiving in 23 years - fullback Barty Smith having been the last in 1977 - and, still young in his football development, flashed unlimited potential in the process.
Professionally, his multiple contributions represented a quantum leap for the 24-year-old Omaha native, who had had only 26 rushing attempts for Seattle during the 1999 season - and just 3 career pass receptions in two years - his first NFL seasons - with the Seahawks.
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman, happy to have Number 30 in hand for the long term, said, "I am thrilled that we could get this deal done before the season. He wanted to play in Green Bay and we wanted him here. This five-year contract will allow Ahman to become a part of future Packer history. How significant a part he will play in that history will be up to him. I am confident he will 'take the ball and run with it,' so to speak.
"This is a young, talented player who works hard at his job and will only get better."
Overall, Green amassed a career-high 1,734 yards from scrimmage last season to rank fourth in the National Football Conference, also ranking fourth in the conference (among non-kickers) in scoring with 78 points on 13 total touchdowns.
He also became only the third running back in the Packers' 80-year NFL history to catch 70-or-more passes in a season, joining Edgar Bennett (78 in 1994) and Levens (71 in 1999).
Becoming both more confident and productive as the 2000 season progressed, the dedicated ex-Cornhusker averaged nearly 100 yards rushing over the last eight games during his first extended role as a featured back in the NFL. If projected over a 16-game season, Green's 96.1-yard per-game average over that span would calculate to 1,538 yards, surpassing the 1,521 yards registered by Robert Smith, the NFC's leading rusher last season.
He also caught better than five passes per game (5.6) over that same second-half stretch and demonstrated workhorse ability in the final month of the season, when weather customarily becomes a significant factor, averaging just under 25 carries per game (24.75).
In the late-season process, the 6-foot, 217-pound Green posted three 100-yard rushing performances in the last six games, highlighted by a career-high 161-yard effort against Minnesota December 17 which sent him over the 1,000-yard mark.
The possessor of 'home-run' speed (he has been clocked at a scorching 4.18 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and thus able to go the distance on any play - the purposeful Nebraskan also has exhibited a complimentary dimension...the size and strength to run between the tackles with power - particularly in short-yardage situations.
Forging the best conversion rate of third-and-one rushing attempts among all NFL running backs, 92.3 percent, he also posted 90 first downs, the second-highest total in the NFC, behind only the St. Louis Rams' Marshall Faulk.
Underscoring his all-around ability is the fact that Green ranked among the NFL's premier running backs in several major offensive categories last season, including rushing (sixth), receiving (tied for third among running backs), yards from scrimmage (fourth) and scoring (fourth among non-kickers).
Additionally, his 10 rushing touchdowns were the most by a Packer since Terdell Middleton posted 11 in 1978 and his per-carry rushing average, 4.5 yards, was the highest by Green Bay's leading rusher in 12 years - since Brent Fullwood's 4.8 in 1988.
Green also scored at least one touchdown in each of the Packers' final five games last season and thus will have a chance early in the 2001 season to eclipse the team record of seven, accomplished twice by Don Hutson (1941-42 and 1943-44) and once by Paul Hornung (1960).
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