Packers' lineman Elgton Jenkins feels better than ever, says he's settling in for a long career in Green Bay

Kassidy Hill
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY − Elgton Jenkins learned the hard way what an offseason of rehab can entail. After tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in 2021, the Green Bay Packers offensive lineman was forced to use his 2022 offseason focused on getting to the point of being able to play instead of spending time honing his skills. 

Jenkins was able to return in less than 10 months, an accelerated timeline, appearing in and starting 15 games and sliding right back in as the Packers' most versatile lineman.

But there’s a lot to be said for an offseason that focuses on development instead of recovery. That’s what Jenkins focused on the past few months, preparing himself to return to Green Bay for OTAs better than when he left. 

Green Bay Packers guard Elgton Jenkins speaks to media outside Lambeau Field before the start of the team's annual Tailgate Tour.

“I feel way better,” Jenkins said Tuesday, before departing on the Packers annual Tailgate Tour. “Just strength, stability, just being like explosive, just explosiveness, trying to like just push off my leg. I feel way better than I did coming into last season.” 

Jenkins is the Packers' Swiss Army knife along the offensive line, starting games at left tackle, left guard, right tackle and center. Given his ability to play along the majority of the line, Jenkins is not training for one particular position. 

“Right now, I'm working out as if I was playing O-line,” Jenkins joked. “So I was just trying to do, trying to do a lot of things, technique wise, and just clean up on things, just small things. But I’m still working out as I'm playing offensive line right now.” 

The return of David Bakhtiari allows Packers to play Elgton Jenkins at guard

Despite Jenkins' ability to play left tackle, that will remain an emergency option as the Packers still have David Bakhtiari. While Bakhtiari spent much of the past two years working through his own perpetual and nagging knee injury, his performance when available made the decision to restructure his contract to keep him in Green Bay an easy one for general manager Brian Gutekunst. 

“Obviously, Dave’s been through a couple years of real tough struggles, but when he played for us last year, we were a different offensive line, a different team,” Gutekunst said during the NFL owners meeting. "He really was impactful when he was able to go." 

Having Bakhtiari by his side changes the game for Jenkins. 

“We got a lot of chemistry from my rookie year to now so just being able to just piggyback off him to get back to what we was doing before he got hurt, I got hurt, you know, it felt good,” Jenkins said of playing with Bakhtiari again in 2022. “So the more reps we got together, just feels more natural.”

Elgton Jenkins' contract extension has him focused on future success in Green Bay

Entering his 11th season, and likely first without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Bakhtiari’s career as a Packer is on the back end. But Jenkins is hoping his is still just beginning. The Mississippi State alum earned his first Pro Bowl selection after the 2020 season and the 2019 second-round draft pick signed a new contract in December, likely keeping him in Green Bay for at least another four years. 

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He plans to be here for all of that and more, with a lot to accomplish during that time. 

“I said when I first got here, I wanted to be with a team for 10-plus years and, you know, right now I'm going into my fifth year, just signed another contract,” Jenkins said. “So right now it's just like, what we can do going forward in the future to help us bring Super Bowls and you know just bring, just making Green Bay better as a whole.” 

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