Training Camp Report: Grant Happy To Be Back


At this time last year, running back Ryan Grant was battling for a roster spot in training camp with the New York Giants. Tuesday he resumed his role as the starting running back for the Green Bay Packers with a lot more security.

Grant, who was an exclusive-rights free agent, came to terms with the team Sunday on a long-term contract extension after missing the first week of camp. While he was in uniform for the Family Night scrimmage, Tuesday afternoon brought his first taste of on-field action.

"It felt good to be out there and be out there with the guys," Grant said. "My wind felt good, and I'm just trying to focus on the little things like pad level. I don't have to really learn the offense this year, so that is a little easier, just knowing the plays so I can focus on my part."

Grant was acquired by Green Bay last season on Sept. 1 from the Giants for a sixth-round draft pick in a move that went largely unnoticed. With several injuries in the backfield, including starter DeShawn Wynn's shoulder injury suffered in the second quarter at Denver in Week 8, Grant stepped into the feature back role and didn't relinquish it the rest of the year.

He finished with 956 yards and 8 TDs in barely more than half a season as the primary ballcarrier, and set a team playoff record with 201 yards rushing vs. Seattle in the NFC Divisional playoff.

Despite all of his personal success during his debut season in Green Bay, Grant said Tuesday that his focus in 2008 is on the goals of the team.

"You have personal goals and I've always kept those to myself," Grant said. "We know what our ultimate goal is as a team and that's a championship. The personal goals are nice, but it doesn't mean much if you don't win.

"We didn't end the way we wanted to last year, so I'm still hungry, even more hungry than I was last year. I think guys on this team want it. We've got a young team, we're unselfish, and guys want to win."

Even though Grant's contract situation was unsettled, he was very much involved in the team's offseason program, participating in the individual work at the facility and attending the team OTAs and mini-camp, even though he couldn't practice. Head Coach Mike McCarthy commented several times how impressed he was with Grant's presence throughout the offseason.

"It helped a lot," Grant said. "I needed to be here with the team and I needed to be with the guys. I wanted guys to see me and know what type of person I am and what this team means to me."

With his work this offseason and a full year under his belt with the Packers, Grant said he will be looking to play an even bigger role in the offense in '08.

"I do plan on being more involved in the offense, just because I am more comfortable," Grant said. "I know what they are looking for and I know what is going on from the different sets, so I think it is something we can be a little more versatile in."

Even though Grant flew to Green Bay from his home in New Jersey shortly after agreeing to his new contract, he was able to take a few minutes to enjoy the moment with those close to him.

"A lot of smiles and a lot of hugs from my family," Grant said. "The opportunity to do some good things and know that security-wise I can take care of my family felt good."

{sportsad300}Good day for the defense

Cornerback Charles Woodson picked off Aaron Rodgers twice during red-zone work, once in a team portion and once in 7-on-7, and linebacker Desmond Bishop added an interception off Rodgers in 7-on-7 toward the end of practice.

Rodgers did make a nice throw to wide receiver James Jones with cornerback Al Harris in tight coverage on a fade route down the left sideline. Jones made an impressive one-handed catch for a touchdown.

Continuing his impressive play from the scrimmage on Sunday night, defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins batted down a Rodgers pass in red-zone work.

Injury/participation update

Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (knee), defensive tackle Justin Harrell (back), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (hamstring), wide receiver Jake Allen (groin) and center Scott Wells (trunk) sat out Tuesday afternoon's practice.

Tight end Tory Humphrey, who missed some practice time last week with a tight ankle/Achilles, was out again.

Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly was new to the injury list and sat out. He played in the scrimmage Sunday night, but McCarthy was not asked about injuries during his press conference after practice.

With Wells out of action, Jason Spitz worked at center with the first unit with rookie Josh Sitton at right guard.

With the injuries on the defensive line, Jenkins moved inside opposite Colin Cole, and Aaron Kampman and Michael Montgomery worked at the end spots on the first unit.

Wynn (slight concussion) returned to action Tuesday after missing the Family Night scrimmage and practice time last week.

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