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Happy To Be Back


Dorsey Levens is happy to be back on the field

Packers running back Dorsey Levens has gained a lot of perspective over the last few months. That's why he's just happy to be back, whether he's carrying the ball 30 times a game or three.

"I'm just so grateful to be playing right now," Levens says. "I could be fourth-string and I wouldn't care because the leg injury was pretty severe, and there were question marks about me coming back at all this year."

Fortunately for the Packers, he's back and playing as strong as anyone hoped.

It doesn't surprise Dorsey's mother, Pat. She says that he always has been resilient and focused.

"Dorsey's a go-getter," she says. "He's so determined. He's so serious. Sometimes, I even have to stop him. So I tell him, 'Relax, have some fun.' But he sets goals for himself and goes for it no matter what."

His goal for this season is simple.

"I want to get my team back to the Super Bowl," Dorsey says. "My role this year has changed drastically because of my (injury) situation, but I fully accept it."

Dorsey says he thinks the tandem of Darick Holmes/fullback William Henderson/Dorsey Levens could be a super combination.

"It worked with Edgar (Bennett in 1996), so I don't see why it wouldn't work this year," he says. Levens is anxious to carry his weight.

"I may not be 100 percent by the end of the year," continues Levens. "It takes a while. I'm not there yet. But I can still go out there and be effective."

Levens says he has no pain in his injured leg, but he doesn't have that burst of speed that he has when he's fully healthy.

"He may not take it 80 yards," says Green Bay running backs coach Harry Sydney, "but he'll take it 20."

Levens came close to a 20-yard gain when he ripped off a 17-yarder against the Buccaneers in Tampa. Levens carried eight times for 43 yards in the Tampa Bay contest, a healthy 5.4-yard average.

"He knows the scheme and the angles to take behind his blockers so well," Sydney says. "He has a long stride and power. He can still run over people."

Henderson is happy to have his old buddy back on the field.

"One thing I've learned this year is, from a blocking standpoint it doesn't matter who I'm blocking for, I just do my job," Henderson says. "(But) on a personal level, I'm glad he's back. It's great from a mental aspect, somebody who has been there with you in the trenches before."

Levens gained 1,435 yards in those trenches during his 1997 Pro Bowl season. He also caught 53 passes for 370 more yards. Though he was successful, he didn't want the attention that came with it.

"He's a very quiet and a very private person," his mother says.

That's why Pat says it has been a tough year for Dorsey, especially during his protracted contract negotiations this past summer. He's a humble guy.

"I think he didn't expect it to go on as long as it did, so it was tough on him," Pat says.

"It was hard because of the way it happened," Dorsey says, "with the whole holdout and everything. I just wanted to prove to everyone that I deserved what I got. I think that was the most frustrating thing about being injured. So it feels great to get back out there with the fellas."

And with fresh legs for the stretch run and playoffs. The Packers know they will get the same unselfishness and determination this all-star has always given.

"I think in all the craziness of the injury and the money," Sydney says, "he's still the same Dorsey as when he came here. He's a great person and a great player."

And the Packers are happy to have both the person and the player.

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