Green Looking to Erase Negatives of Last Year

Tailback Ahman Green is one of the most productive offensive players in Green Bay history, but he is looking to come back after a horrible 4-12 season in which he missed the last 11 games with an injured thigh. Green addressed the Chicago media via conference call at Halas Hall on Wednesday, and Bear Report was there to hear what he had to say.

It wasn't too long ago that tailback Ahman Green re-wrote the Packers record book with 1,883 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Not only was he a madman in the running game in 2003, he also caught 50 passes for 367 yards and five more scores. Green followed up that monster year with another 1,000-yard effort on the ground in `04, the fifth consevutive season he eclipsed that magical mark.

But 2005 was a different story. Not only did the Packers suffer their first losing season of the Brett Favre era (4-12), Green played only five games before missing the rest of the year with a thigh injury. Even when he was on the field, he managed only 255 yards on 77 attempts, a paltry 3.3 yards per carry, and he didn't find the end zone once.

Green is healthy and will once again be the primary ball-carrier when the Packers host the Bears on Sunday at Lambeau Field, but he is coming back to a team that is much different than the ones that helped him to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 2001-04.

"We're letting them know every day how big this game is," Green said Wednesday via conference call at Halas Hall, "how big this rivalry is, and what it means to play in this series between the Packers and the Bears that's been going on forever."

Green is always anxious to get the season started, but considering how much time he missed in 2005 and how hard it was to watch his team's dreadful performance in street clothes, the former Cornhusker seems especially motivated.

"I always feel that way," Green said. "A little bit more because I didn't finish the season out last year and missed a lot of games. That's just my competitive nature. I think anybody that plays at this level of sports that is out for as long as I was, they come back a little hungry."

Even when Green was putting up numbers consistent with the most prolific running backs in the NFL, he struggled mightily holding on to the football. During his four-year run as an All-Pro, he fumbled 23 times and lost 16 of them. He is only comfortable carrying the ball in his left hand, which leaves it in plain view of defenders as he runs to his right.

Though he has worked in the past at alternating from hand to hand depending on where he is on the football field, Green sees no reason to change what he has always done.

"My philosophy is, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it."

With the Bears and their turnover-happy defense rolling into town on Sunday, Green might have to amend that philosophy.

JC


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