Flanagan vows to return to lineup soon

When the Seattle Seahawks visit Lambeau Monday night for the preseason opener, center Mike Flanagan will be out of action as he continues to battle patellar tendinitis. Next time the Packers play under the Monday Night lights, he'll be back in the lineup, the veteran vowed.<p>

"If there's a game this weekend, I'm playing," Flanagan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Friday. Flanagan, who has sat out a dozen days of training camp, said that the leg injury he suffered as a rookie continues to haunt him. Because of the severity of the break and subsequent operations, Flanagan changed his gait and motion, causing a domino effect of other problems.

After missing all of both Super Bowl seasons due to the initial leg injury, Flanagan has been consistent. He has missed only three games since returning to action Dec. 13, 1998 in a win over the Bears. Since then, Flanagan launched a 79-game streak including 15 as a backup in '99, 16 - including his first career start - in 2000 and 16 starts plus two playoff contests in 2001. In 2002 Flanagan proved his versatility by moving to left tackle for seven of his 13 starts. The injury-decimated offensive line required Flanagan to make an unselfish switch from his natural center position to left tackle in place of felled starter Chad Clifton.

The UCLA graduate has played through a variety of maladies including bouts with tendinitis in both knees.

By spring minicamp this year, the pain couldn't be ignored, and Flanagan had to take a seat. He was placed on the physically unable to perform list on the third day of training camp but still works out three times a day with cardiovascular and strength sessions.

Soon, however, he said he'll be back at practice and in the lineup -- pain or no pain.

"You start getting old, you start playing with stuff. It doesn't really matter," said Flanagan, 30.


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