Kampman: Return to Packers Would Be ‘Great'

Free agent-to-be Aaron Kampman, making a rapid recovery from a torn ACL that ended his season on Nov. 22 against San Francisco, sounds open to returning to the Packers. "Let's just say that I've been very encouraged by the health of my knee," he said.

Don't rule out Aaron Kampman returning to the Green Bay Packers just yet.

Kampman, who is coming off a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee, is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 5. While, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango, the two-time Pro Bowler sounds open to returning to Green Bay.

"I've never really commented on contract stuff but obviously this is the only place that I've been," he said as teammates cleared out their lockers on Monday. "It would be great to continue my career here. We'll see what happens."

Kampman flashed a wide grin when asked about his surgically reconstructed left knee. While he wouldn't discuss his timetable, he flashed a wide smile when asked if he'd be ready for the start of training camp.

"There is one, but so far, I don't fit in their normal timetable," Kampman said. "Let's just say that I've been very encouraged by the health of my knee."

Whether Kampman will participate in training camp in Green Bay or elsewhere will be one of the big offseason story lines. After posting 3.5 sacks in his first season as an outside linebacker, popular opinion has Kampman on the first flight out of Green Bay to sign with a team that needs a 4-3 defensive end.

That might not be the case, though.

"Obviously, I've gotten used to this 3-4," he said. "I didn't get a chance to get a full year to critique and say, ‘Hey, this is great.' I was starting to get more comfortable. Having said that, I've got a lot of experience in the 4-3. I think I can do both."

Working against Kampman's return is how the team played without him. There was almost no drop-off between Kampman's nine starts (55 tackles, 3.5 sacks) and Brad Jones' seven starts (31 tackles, 4.0 sacks). The Packers went 6-1 in Jones' seven starts. Kampman will be 30 at the start of training camp and will be coming off a serious injury while Jones will be only 24 with intriguing upside. Considering Kampman's annual salary could be more than 10 times Jones' 2010 base of $395,000, the Packers might be tempted to let Kampman walk in free agency or through a Corey Williams-style sign and trade.

"This is the only organization that I've played before," Kampman said. "We'll see how it works out. I understand that this is a business. I had a good time getting a chance to learn the 3-4. It's disappointing that I didn't get a chance to finish the season. It would have been fun to compare apples to apples for a 16-week season and kind of see where I measured up."

Kampman made the trip to Arizona. Watching the only team he has played for in his eight years in the NFL playing so well down the stretch made it hard to be on the sideline.

"It would have been fun to a part of it, especially as Clay (Matthews) was starting to develop a little more attention on his side," Kampman said. "It would have been nice (to be a bookend). But that's how it goes."

Roster updates

The Packers signed cornerback D.J. Clark, tight end Tom Crabtree, guard Stanley Daniels, linebacker Robert Francois, wide receiver Khalil Jones, running back Kregg Lumpkin, quarterback Chris Pizzotti and defensive end Ronald Talley to reserve/future contracts. The signings were announced by general manager Ted Thompson. All eight finished the year on the practice squad.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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