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Packers RB Grant: 'I do believe there will be competition'

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  • By NFL.com
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Ryan Grant won a Super Bowl ring with the Packers last season, but he can't claim much responsibility for Green Bay's conquest.

The 28-year-old running back suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 that sidelined him for the balance of the season. The Packers went with a running back-by-committe approach the rest of the way, with Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn handling the bulk of the carries.

Little-used rookie James Starks emerged as the team's starter in the playoffs after receiving just 29 carries in three regular-season games. Starks started four playoff games -- including Green Bay's 31-25 win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, totaling 315 yards on 81 carries as well as a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game.

Now Grant is fully recovered and says he's ready to go whenever the lockout is lifted. But will he still be Green Bay's No. 1 backfield option when the season opens?

"I would think so. I don't know. From what I've heard, that's the conversation that was told to me," Grant said in a call-in interview with WSSP in Milwaukee on Monday. "I was told that by (former running backs coach Edgar Bennett), initially. Jerry (Fontenot, the Packers' new position coach) didn't tell me that anything changed. Jerry told me that as of right now I'm still the leader of that backfield and the expectations won't change. … I do believe there will be competition, which is fine. I'm all for that."

The Packers acquired Grant from the New York Giants in 2007 in exchange for a future sixth-round draft pick, and the undrafted Notre Dame product seized a midseason opportunity that year to become an impact player for the Packers. He rushed for 956 yards in just seven starts in '07, then followed that up with back-to-back 1,200-yard rushing campaigns in 2008 and 2009.

Grant proved before the injury that he could be an every-down back for Green Bay. When asked if he wanted to start in 2011, he didn't hesitate.

"Of course. Why would you not want to? Who doesn't want that?" he said. "But I do want to win, more importantly. And I do feel like what I bring to the table and what I do on the field is very direct to me. … I'm looking forward to whatever happens regarding all that and I'm just going to take care of what I can."

It's clear that Grant still believes he should be the focal point of Green Bay's backfield. But would he be OK with a backup role if Mike McCarthy and the Packers made that decision?

"If it was in the best interest of the team, I'm all for it."

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