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Jenkins open to return to Packers

Mar. 7, 2013
 
Cullen Jenkins. (Post-Crescent photo by Dan Powers)
Cullen Jenkins. (Post-Crescent photo by Dan Powers)

The agent for Cullen Jenkins said his client is more than open to a return to the Packers.

Jenkins, who had 29 sacks for the Packers as primarily an inside rusher from 2004-10, is available after the Philadelphia Eagles cut him late last month. The Packers are looking to improve their inside pass rush and might have interest in bringing back Jenkins, though they haven’t given his agent an indication of whether they’re going to try to sign him.

“He wants to go where he’s going to get an opportunity to play and be a part of a team that has a chance to compete for the Super Bowl,” said Brian Levy, Jenkins’ agent. “I think Green Bay provides him with both those opportunities. Plus he’s been there – I don’t think he wanted to leave in the first place.”

Jenkins, 32, left the Packers in free agency two years ago. He was their best inside rusher at the time, but because of his age and injury history – he’d missed 17 of his last 48 games with them – they decided not to offer the lucrative contract he was seeking at the time.

Jenkins signed with the Eagles and played in all 32 games the last two seasons. He had 5 ˝ sacks in 2011 and four sacks last season.

One of the reasons the Packers allowed Jenkins to leave is they thought 2010 second-round pick Mike Neal could replace him as an inside rusher. But Neal has had difficulties staying on the field – he’s missed 14 games the last two years because of injuries and a suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

“The best person to replace (Jenkins) with is him,” Levy said.

Jenkins has visited four teams: the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

Levy said he thinks the Packers and other teams that might be interested are waiting until next week, after they’ve learned what kind of contracts defensive linemen are getting in free agency, before determining whether to try to sign Jenkins. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on Saturday and signing them starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Jenkins is free to sign now because he was cut.

“A lot of teams are scared to get out there and put a number out that might be too high for the market,” Levy said. “Maybe they can save money, and maybe they’re scared they’re misinterpreting the market.”

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