GREEN BAY - John Kuhn won’t be on the field Tuesday when the Green Bay Packers conduct their first training-camp practice of 2016. But the free-agent fullback hasn’t given up hope of playing this season, either in Green Bay or elsewhere.
"I'm not done," Kuhn said Friday in an interview with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I work out four or five times a week and I'm putting in what I have to on the front end, expecting somebody to make my phone ring here at some point in time. If not this week, if not next week, some time in August, somebody's going to have a need for somebody who's willing to come in, work hard, do some of the dirty work that not everybody does anymore.
"So that's what I'm preparing myself for. I can't predict the future. I don't know which team is going to finally make my phone ring. Of course I'd love it to be the Packers, but they've got 90 (players) on their roster right now. So they have a vision for where they're going to go. You never know. Things change sometimes. But I can only control myself, and I've been doing the best I can to try and make that happen."
After spending the last nine seasons in Green Bay, Kuhn, 33, hasn’t been re-signed by the Packers, who want to see if second-year fullback Aaron Ripkowski is ready to handle the job. A source close to Kuhn said in May that there was “mutual interest” between the two parties, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers made it clear that he was disappointed that Kuhn and wide receiver James Jones, another good friend, hadn’t be retained.
Kuhn, who still lives in Green Bay, admitted he’s beginning to feel anxious about not having a job with the start of training camp approaching.
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"That is probably the most concerning part for a guy like myself," Kuhn said. "Training camp is when you use practice to get ready for a season. Every week that I miss in training camp, I miss an opportunity to get my pads down low, I miss an opportunity to make reads in the secondary and do things that you've got to do mentally. That's the only thing that gives you a little bit of high anxiety.
"I've been around the block a time or two. I've just got to reassure myself that this is something that I've done before and that I'm ready to do again."
Given the cult following that Kuhn enjoys with Packers fans, it’s hard to imagine him wearing a different uniform. But Kuhn said he would be open to just about anything.
“I just want to sign with a competitor, somebody that I feel like is going to compete week in and week out,” Kuhn said. "At this point in time in my career, I want to play because I still enjoy it, I still love it, I'm still in shape, I'm still ready to go. I want to be on a team that I think can go somewhere and do some damage."
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Stucourt.