Packers start OL rebuilding with Klemm

After watching their starting guards roll out the door, Packers general manager Ted Thompson is rolling the dice with a member of the two-time defending Super Bowl champions.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting the Packers have agreed to a contract with unrestricted free-agent guard Adrian Klemm.

The Packers also re-signed tight end David Martin, the team announced Wednesday.

The Packers hope Klemm can replace standout left guard Mike Wahle. Wahle and Klemm have similar backgrounds. Klemm was moved to tight end for a portion of his senior season at Hawaii while Wahle began his career at the Naval Academy as a tight end.

The catch, however, is the 6-foot-3, 312-pound Klemm has been available for only 26 of 80 regular-season games over the second-round pick's five-year career.

That makes the signing a major risk-reward scenario. Klemm's contract is worth $2.6 million over two years, including an $800,000 signing bonus, according to the Journal Sentinel. If Klemm develops into a player close to the caliber of Wahle, they will be getting a heck of a bargain. If Klemm remains injury prone, then the Packers will get little bang for their buck.

"I have had some freak injuries," Klemm told reporters during his visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier in the week. "I work out hard. I got the performance award for offensive line over at New England last year. I just have had some kind of bad breaks. I'm healthy right now. ... I'm not a wreck like some people might think that I am. I'm feeling pretty good. That's one of the reasons I'm looking at other places, I just want a fresh start."

For the Packers, time was running short to acquire a potential starter during free agency. Most of the top guards went shortly after Wahle and Marco Rivera left. All of the top guards in the tier below Wahle and Rivera have signed, capped by former Colt Rick DeMulling joining Detroit on Wednesday with a two-year deal. Atlanta's Roberto Garza reportedly declined the Packers' overtures.

Among Klemm's 26 games, he has started 10 times, some at guard and some at tackle. He missed almost all of last season after breaking his foot in practice. The injury put Klemm on injured reserve for the third time in four years.

In 2003, he played in three games, all starts. In 2002, he played in all 16 games, with three starts. He was unable to play a regular-season snap in 2001 due to a torn calf. In his rookie 2000 season, Klemm started four of his five games after injuring his knee during training camp.

Meanwhile, Martin is back in the fold after an unsuccessful quest to find a starting role elsewhere. The oft-injured Martin has been a disappointment during his four years in Green Bay.

The former wide receiver and sixth-round pick from the University of Tennessee has the athleticism to be a star but that ability has never translated onto the field. With three-time Pro Bowler Bubba Franks — assuming he returns — primarily being a red zone and possession-type receiver, Martin could earn a big role as a deep threat if his production ever approaches his athletic ability.

Martin has 39 catches for 344 yards and four touchdowns during his career. Last season, he made just five catches for 88 yards. In perhaps the biggest play of his career, a 35-yard catch in the Nov. 14 home game against Minnesota, Martin aggravated a nagging knee injury. He was put on season-ending injured reserve after the game.

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