A decision regarding John Kuhn’s future with the Green Bay Packers could be near.
Kuhn’s agent, Kevin Gold, said Monday he still is awaiting word about the organization’s intentions for the 11th-year fullback, but hopes to gain clarity possibly as early as this week. The Packers are scheduled to start their offseason program next Monday.
The delay isn’t unusual. Kuhn, who turns 34 in September, didn’t re-sign until April 13 a year ago and April 3 in 2014. He played in all 18 games last season, registering 12 carries for 32 yards, nine catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns en route to making his third Pro Bowl appearance.
His value increased when coach Mike McCarthy resumed offensive play-calling duties during the final month of the season. Nearly two-thirds of Kuhn’s offensive snaps (222 of 362) came in the final six games (including playoffs).
McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have been strong proponents of Kuhn. He has been durable (only five missed games in 10 seasons with the Packers) and possesses a wealth of institutional knowledge. What the Packers have to decide is whether they want to keep two fullbacks on the roster like they did last year with Kuhn and rookie Aaron Ripkowski.
Ripkowski, one of three sixth-round picks in the 2015 NFL draft, played only 18 offensive snaps as a rookie, but developed into a core special-teamer with nine coverage tackles. He made an impact on his only reception — an 18-yard catch against Carolina in Week 9 — when he leveled Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere.
Kuhn isn’t the only client Gold hopes to gain closure for in the near future. He also represents long snapper Brett Goode, who is making progress in his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery. Goode played in 137 consecutive games before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against Oakland on Dec. 20.
Gold expects Goode soon to be cleared to participate in most aspects of organized team activities and believes he should be ready for training camp. He’ll be seven months out from surgery once camp begins in July. Working in Goode’s favor is the position he plays and eight seasons of familiarity with Green Bay’s special teams.
It’s not unheard of for teams to re-sign players rehabbing significant knee injuries. Last month, Cincinnati retained unrestricted defensive tackle Brandon Thompson despite tearing his ACL against Baltimore on Jan. 3.
Goode was working out at the team facilities until his contract ran out at the end of February. McCarthy said at last month’s NFL owners meetings that the 31-year-old long snapper since has relocated his rehab to a nearby training facility.
The Packers haven’t added a long snapper this offseason, though his in-season replacement, Rick Lovato, is signed through the 2016 season.
“We’ll see how it goes with Brett,” said McCarthy at the owners meetings. “Hopefully, we get him back.”
Kuhn and Goode are two of seven unrestricted free agents the Packers still have on the market. Linebacker Mike Neal, receiver James Jones, offensive lineman Don Barclay, tight end Andrew Quarless and safety Sean Richardson also remain unsigned.