"It's been a long first three years in the league," said Green, who was acquired by the Packers in a trade with Seattle on April 15, 2000. "... Right now my heart is pounding a mile a minute."
Green's new deal solidifies a backfield that has the potential to take a lot of pressure off of quarterback Brett Favre. Green will start with Levens as the backup. William Henderson, who just missed going to the Pro Bowl last year, will start his sixth straight season at fullback.
"We'll have two of those three out there at any time. It's a pretty damn good backfield," said Packers head coach and general manager Mike Sherman.
Green signed a one-year, $1.15 million contract this spring as a restricted free agent. His agent, David Dunn, and Packers negotiator Andrew Brandt began serious talks on the extension at the NFL owners meetings in March.
Green had the option of playing out this season and testing his value next offseason as an unrestricted free agent, but he told Dunn that he preferred to remain in Green Bay. Green has often said that Green Bay is much like Lincoln, Neb., where he played collegiately for the Cornhuskers, and that he enjoys the football atmosphere. He makes his offseason home in Green Bay.
"It's kind of a monkey off my back," said Green. "But I'm the type of player that if it wasn't done, I wasn't going to worry about it. I would have gone out there, done my physical stuff and started training camp. I'm not the type of player to be mad about nothing being done. I'm a team player and I would have gone out there and not disrupt my team from starting training camp."
During the second half of last year, Green became the Packers' featured back after Levens went down with a knee injury. Green averaged nearly 100 yards rushing in the last eight games. He finished with a career-high 1,175 yards rushing, the fourth highest single season total in Packers history, and led the team in receiving with 73 catches and 13 touchdowns.
"Ahman's 24 years old. He's a tireless worker. He's proven himself to me in the last year that he's very special both on and off the field," said Sherman. "I'm very excited that we were able to get this deal done."
One of the reasons former Packers coach Mike Holmgren traded Green is because he fumbled often during his first two seasons in Seattle. But Green bounced back last year, rarely fumbling, and showed a determination to find the end zone by scoring 13 touchdowns. Ten of those touchdowns came on the ground, the most since Terdell Middleton had 11 for Green Bay in 1978.
Green, who has run as fast as 4.18 seconds in the 40 yard dash, finished the 2000 season with a career-high 1,734 yards from scrimmage, which placed him fourth in the National Football Conference.