Flanagan, front and center

The Five Amigos are back and ready to roll at Tennessee on Friday night.

For the first time during training camp, all five members of the Green Bay Packers' powerhouse offensive line were in action, with the camp debut of Pro Bowl center Mike Flanagan on Monday.

Flanagan was limited to joking with fellow injured starter Mike Wahle for the past four weeks due to patella tendinitis in his left knee. Wahle, who like Flanagan was on the physically-unable-to-perform list with an injured knee, returned a week ago.

Flanagan participated in the brief one-hour morning practice and the two-hour afternoon session. Flanagan pronounced himself tired and rusty, but otherwise all was good.

"It was good to get involved and earn a paycheck for once," Flanagan joked.

Flanagan's return is vital for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. He is one of the best centers in the league, with his athleticism allowing him to pull out onto the flanks to lead the Packers' trademark off-tackle running game. Center also is a thinking man's position, making Flanagan's knowledge of the offense and familiarity with his linemates critical.

"He's an important cog in the whole thing because he makes most of the (line) calls in there," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "He's always a factor in just about every block because he's either blocking back on somebody as we pull a guard or he's on the front side. So he's pivotal."

For the offensive line to be at least close to the top of its game, line coach Larry Beightol has repeatedly said Flanagan needed at least a week of practice for everyone to get in sync. By coming back Monday, Flanagan will have three full practices before the Tennessee game, and then more than a week of workouts leading up to the Sept. 13 regular-season opener at Carolina.

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