Relishing Role, 'KGB' Closing On White's Mark

There’s another significant record that soon could be set by a Packers player, though it’s not going to generate nearly as much fanfare and attention as Brett Favre and his touchdown passes. Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is just two sacks away from tying late Hall of Famer Reggie White for the Packers’ franchise mark after his two-sack performance against San Diego on Sunday. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Vikings Game Center


DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila enters Sunday's game against Minnesota with 6 1/2 career sacks against the Vikings.

A film review of last Sunday's game by Elias Sports Bureau has changed the defensive statistics for the Packers. On Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila's second sack, on which he forced a fumble, it has been determined he shared the sack with teammate Aaron Kampman. So Gbaja-Biamila had 1 1/2 sacks in the game, not two as originally reported. This story has been updated to reflect that change.

There's another significant record that soon could be set by a Packers player, though it's not going to generate nearly as much fanfare and attention as Brett Favre and his touchdown passes.

Green Bay defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is just 2 1/2 sacks away from tying late Hall of Famer Reggie White for the Packers' franchise mark after his 1 1/2 sacks against San Diego on Sunday.

Gbaja-Biamila, now in his eighth season out of San Diego State, has 66 career sacks. White, who starred for the Packers for six seasons (1993-98), had 68 1/2 of his 198 career sacks while playing for Green Bay.

Sunday's sacks were Gbaja-Biamila's first of the season. He got to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers for an 8-yard sack in the second quarter, leading to a punt. Then in the fourth quarter, he stripped Rivers of the ball on third down, and in addition to the forced fumble he was credited with a half-sack along with Aaron Kampman. San Diego recovered, but again had to punt.

"It feels great," Gbaja-Biamila said after the game. "I'd be lying to you if I told you it didn't. The way those sacks came, it wasn't like I did anything special. I was just in the right place at the right time."

'KGB' is also handling his role the right way. Replaced late last season as a starting defensive end by Cullen Jenkins, Gbaja-Biamila was asked this season to be almost strictly a pass-rush specialist, coming in at defensive end in obvious passing situations.

The idea was to use Jenkins' more stout frame on early downs against the run, and keep 'KGB' fresh to do what he does best, which is rush the quarterback.

Gbaja-Biamila has been a true professional and the ultimate team player throughout the transition, which the Packers are hoping gets him back to a double-digit sack total. He hasn't reached that since 2004, when he did so for a fourth straight year.

"That's how I look at my job -- I feel like I'm a special force," Gbaja-Biamila said. "I've got one specific job I do, to get to the quarterback. I'm like the Marines. Cullen Jenkins is like the Army. He can do everything. I come in here and have a specific job."

Surpassing White's career sack total in Green Bay isn't necessarily a specific goal of Gbaja-Biamila's. A humble, devout Christian, he doesn't boast of his individual statistics and doesn't really know what to say about the franchise record when asked.

It's somewhat unclear exactly what the true franchise record is, because sacks didn't become an official NFL individual statistic until 1982. Dominant pass rusher Ezra Johnson, who played for the Packers from 1977-87, unofficially recorded 85 sacks in that time, but he's listed fourth in the team record book with 41 1/2 from 1982-87.

But more games like Sunday could have 'KGB' approaching Johnson's unofficial number before long anyway. Against the Chargers, he recorded his 14th multi-sack game and his first since the 2005 season finale. Rivers became the 36th different quarterback he has sacked.

{sportsad300}Interestingly, even though 'KGB' is known primarily as a speed rusher who beats his blocker around the corner, he got his first sack Sunday with a straight power rush. Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders also said Gbaja-Biamila applied good pressure on several other snaps when Rivers still got the ball off.

"He's rested, he's studying hard, he knows what he's going to do when he goes in there," Sanders said. "You know what you're going to get out of him every day at practice, and his hard work is continuing to help him."

Gbaja-Biamila said some of that hard work is coming on the sidelines during the games, when he's studying what the opposing offense is doing and processing that as well as sharing what he can with his defensive mates.

"I'm excited with my role," he said. "I get to encourage my teammates. I get to evaluate the game on the sidelines. 'Hey guys, watch for this. This is what the quarterback is doing.' It's a great spot to be in."

Gbaja-Biamila also held up well on Sunday when he had to replace Jenkins as the every-down end when Jenkins got the wind knocked out of him a couple of times. While the Packers certainly hope Jenkins, who Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday has an injury to his side, won't be slowed this week, having a veteran like 'KGB' to step in whenever he's needed eases any worries.

"As we always say, there's a lot of starters," Sanders said. "On third down, just like our nickel back or third-down specialist rush guy, we consider those guys starters. We also don't have a starter at defensive tackle, so to speak. Those guys roll around in there.

"We have a lot of starters on defense and Kabeer is a very integral part of what we're trying to get done."

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