GREEN BAY, Wis. — John Kuhn is still working out, still living in Green Bay, still planning to play another NFL season.
And he’s still holding out hope that it’ll be with the Green Bay Packers.
The veteran fullback and folk hero remains a free agent, and while it appears the Packers have moved on and are ready to go with second-year fullback Aaron Ripkowski, there was some sentiment earlier this offseason within the organization to bring back Kuhn.
Kuhn, who’ll turn 34 the week of the Packers’ regular-season opener at Jacksonville, said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Friday afternoon that he hasn’t “directly” heard from the Packers about a possible return but that he believes it might be “an option” at some point.
“I’m not done,” said Kuhn, who joined the Packers off waivers from Pittsburgh in 2007 and played 139 of a possible 144 regular-season games for them during the last nine seasons. “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, sometime 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.
“That’s what I’m preparing myself for. I can’t predict the future. I don’t know which team is finally going to 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 visions of where they’re going to go. But things change sometimes. I can only control myself, and I’ve been doing the best I can to make that happen.”
Kuhn played in all 16 games for the Packers last season but touched the ball only 15 times (nine carries, six receptions), his fewest since 2009. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, when asked about the unsigned Kuhn’s absence during the offseason program, called him “a dear friend” and did little to hide his disappointment that the team hasn’t brought him back.
Kuhn, one of the few Packers players who makes his offseason home in the Green Bay area, said he has enjoyed this offseason and the bonus “family time” his free agency has given him, but with the Packers set to open camp Monday, he’s getting the itch.
“That is probably the most concerning part,” Kuhn said of being unsigned with the Packers’ first camp practice scheduled for Tuesday morning. “Training camp is when you use practice to get ready for a season. Every week 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.
“[But] 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.”
If the Packers don’t call, Kuhn said his only criteria for going elsewhere is he wants to sign with “a competitor” and said he’s not worried about having to learn a new playbook after so many years in Green Bay.
“At this point 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,” Kuhn said. “I [just] want to be on a team that I think can go somewhere and do some damage.”