Happy Return

Allen Rossum made a happy return to Lambeau Field on Sunday. The Packers kick return specialist and sometimes defensive back missed the last seven games of the regular season suffering from a sprained knee.<P> He rejoined the lineup Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC wildcard game, and got the Packers special teams going in the first quarter with a 35-yard punt return that he almost broke for a touchdown.<P>

The Packers defense forced the Niners to punt on their first two possessions. Rossum fielded the second kick at ththe Green Bay 25, went up the middle, then cut to the right. He beat punter Jason Baker and appeared to be headed for a score when he fumbled the ball out of bounds.

"The ball just kind of flipped out," Rossum said. "I don't know if I would have been able to score, but just being out there felt great. It seemed like an eternity being out."

Rossum missed four games earlier in the season with a sore hamstring. He returned for five games, and had a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 35-yard return on Sunday was the second-longest for the Packers this season.

Rossum had mixed reviews on kickoff returns. He joined veteran running back Dorsey Levens to bring back kicks, but the two suffered some miscommunication that resulted in two bobbled returns.

"We're not used to having another guy back there," Rossum said. "We just have to get used to each other."

Levens returned two kicks for 24 yards. His best output couldn't have come at a more opportune time. The SF touchdown and game-tying two-point conversion had swung the momentum firmly to the Niners, but that shift didn't last long. Levens returned Cortez's kickoff 22 yards to the Green Bay 26, setting the stage for a 10-play, 49-yard drive for the go-ahead field goal. Green Bay never surrendered the lead, and soon after added Ahman Green's game-sealing TD.


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