Archive for the ‘Following Up’ Category

York Dispatch Staff Report

Central York grad Kuhn named Division III All-American: Central York High School graduate Paul Kuhn has been named an NCAA Division III First-Team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Kuhn is a 6-foot, 7-inch junior on the Juniata College men’s volleyball team. The Eagles are ranked No. 3 in Division III.

This is Kuhn’s second All-America nod and his first time on the first team. Precise behind the service line, he leads the Continental Volleyball Conference in aces per set and ranks 15th nationally.

The Eagles are the No. 3 seed in the 2014 NCAA Division III men’s volleyball tournament. They will face Kean University at 8 p.m. on Friday in the Kennedy Sports+Recreation Center.

York Dispatch Staff Report

Kuhn

Kuhn

Central York High School graduate Paul Kuhn has made Juniata College sports history.

The 6-foot, 7-inch junior has become the first men’s volleyball player in Eagles history to be named the Continental Volleyball Conference Player of the Year.

Juniata is ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division III and has a record of 27-4.

It is Kuhn’s second all-conference nod. He leads the league and the team in aces per set. He’s second on the team in kills and was named the CVC Player of the Week and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Week during the season. Kuhn also has a presence on defense and is third on the team in digs.

Juniata’s season continues as the third seed in the 2014 NCAA Division III men’s volleyball national tournament. They will face sixth seeded Kean University in the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. Friday, April 25 at home in the Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center.

By JERRY SULLIVAN The Buffalo News

Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly, center, sits on the bench during football spring game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly, center, sits on the bench during football spring game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Mark Crammer)

Last Saturday was supposed to be a day of celebration for Dennis Gilbert. The St. Joe’s football coach had traveled to South Carolina with his two teenage sons to watch his former star quarterback, Chad Kelly, play in the spring game at Clemson.

The weather was glorious, the setting almost surreal. A Clemson assistant gave Gilbert a tour of the place, which seemed more like a pro franchise. There was a huge crowd for a glorified practice. It was even on ESPNU.

So you can imagine how horrified Gilbert was to see Kelly, the 2011 Buffalo News Player of the Year, get involved in a verbal altercation with his coaches over a decision to punt on fourth-and-3 in the first half.

“I tell you, one of his best attributes is the fact that he’s so competitive,” Gilbert said Wednesday. “I think that’s what gives him a big edge on the field, that he’s so competitive in everything he does. At times, that can get in your way, too.”

It got in Kelly’s way this time. It helped get him booted off the team. Gilbert had a feeling that Kelly was done for the day after arguing with his coaches. According to reporters on the scene, Kelly continued to squawk at his coaches on the sideline during the second half.

On Monday, Clemson announced that Kelly, the nephew of Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, had been dismissed from the team. Coach Dabo Swinney said Kelly was being let go for “conduct detrimental to our program.

“He has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program,” Swinney said.

Gilbert spoke with Kelly after the incident Saturday and again on Monday and Tuesday. He said Kelly was upset at the finality of the situation. Gilbert told Kelly the important thing was to finish the semester and complete his academics.

“I have talked to him extensively,” Gilbert said. “He’s one of us, you know. Regardless of what happens, as a coach you’ve always got to be there for your kids and support them. It’s easy to stand with them during the good times; you got to help them through the tough times, too.

“One of the first things Chad said to me after everything played out Monday was, ‘Well, coach, we always said it’s not the mistakes you make, it’s how you answer them. We’re in answering mode now.’?”

Kelly has much to answer for. On Wednesday, he issued an apology through Jim Kelly Inc. It began with a sentence from his uncle, Dan Kelly, saying Chad was “humble and optimistic” about his future.

“Humble” is the appropriate word here. Humility has never come easy for Chad. He is, after all, a Kelly. With that comes a fierce, competitive spirit and a hubris bordering on arrogance. Jim Kelly was renowned for those qualities early in his career.

Of course, if you want to act like the Big Man on Campus, you might wait until you’ve achieved it. Kelly, a redshirt sophomore, was in a three-way fight for the starting QB job with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson.

It had to be humbling for Kelly, who was the top quarterback in New York as a senior as St. Joe’s, the first QB from Western New York to commit to a major college since Malik Campbell in 1996.

Trouble in Red Lion: But when you heard the words “pattern of behavior,” you were reminded of Kelly’s difficult early high school years in Red Lion.

As a freshman at Red Lion High School, he was suspended for the final seven games “for undisclosed reasons.” As a sophomore, he was dismissed from the team after starting five games. No reason was given. Kevin Kelly moved his family back to Western New York, and Chad enrolled at St. Joe’s.

There were suggestions that Kelly was somehow a victim in Pennsylvania, the object of jealousy in a football-mad community. Five years later, you wonder if the pattern Swinney spoke of was manifesting itself then.

As Swinney suggested, Kelly’s problems didn’t surface overnight. It’s hard to imagine a major-college coach compromising his depth at the game’s most vital position over an isolated incident. The situation must have become untenable for the Tigers’ coaches.

Kelly has been called “a bit of an enigma” at Clemson. He wrote a rap song about himself. He was a presence on social media. Before he was out of high school, after his final visit to Clemson in the winter of 2012, Kelly called out Stoudt on Twitter:

“Your on the bench of a reason. And i come soon! Just letting you know,” Kelly tweeted at Stoudt. He said the coaches should prefer him because of his ability to run and throw, and said Stoudt lacked the “oomph” to push starter Tajh Boyd in practice.

A Twitter war ensued. Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, said “I hate those that talk like their the (bleep) when they haven’t done anything yet.”

“I’m coming to Clemson to Play my Freshman year I ain’t going just to sit on the bench,” Kelly tweeted back. “Everyday im coming to work and be the best!”

The coaches put a stop to it – and not because of bad spelling and punctuation. Kelly and Stoudt settled their issues, at least publicly. But recent events show that Kelly never accepted the idea that Stoudt was the better quarterback.

Kelly was redshirted as a freshman in 2012. Last season, he was pushing Stoudt for the backup job when he hurt his knee in the spring game. He worked to get back just four months after ACL surgery, and there was speculation that he felt he didn’t get a fair shake.

It came to a head last weekend. Kelly threw two interceptions in the first half. According to Aaron Brenner, a reporter in Charleston, S.C., Kelly spent the second half “fuming on the sideline – even sniping into the fourth quarter at nearby coaches.”

Swinney said Kelly had stepped over the line and failed to behave like a leader. Making matters worse, he learned of an incident from the previous Thursday, when Kelly was involved in a fender-bender with former Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, an intern in the football office.

Rogers explained later on Twitter that Kelly had been a passenger in a car that backed into her vehicle near her apartment. She said Kelly tried to talk her out of filing a police report and became “very agitated and extremely disrespectful.”

In his apology, Kelly said he had let down Clemson and the fans. Most of all, he said, he let down himself and his family.

His uncle Jim is lying in a hospital bed, battling for his life against cancer. It should be plain that life is a precious thing, and that your athletic gifts are rare and fleeting. You don’t throw them away.

Chad Kelly should think long and hard about that. People at Clemson thought he might transfer if he didn’t win the starting job this year. Now he has no choice. He can sit out a year and transfer to another Division I school, or drop down a level and play right away.

Gilbert says he never had a problem with Kelly at St. Joe’s. He said Kelly was a model teammate. His work ethic was flawless. Of course, he was The Man, not a backup. Gilbert says Kelly still has what it takes to make it big.

“Am I still confident?” Gilbert said. “Absolutely. As I said to him, ‘Chad, you’re still a young man; you’re still growing; you’re still learning. You have big-league skills, for sure. But there’s lot more than just running and throwing and jumping.”

The point was obvious. The kid needs to grow up.

By PETE IACOBELLI

The Associated Press

Kelly

Kelly

Former Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly apologized for his behavior with the Tigers and believes he can learn from the experience.

Kelly, who formerly played quarterback at Red Lion High School, issued a statement Wednesday through his uncle, Dan Kelly, the vice president of Jim Kelly Inc. Chad Kelly is the nephew of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.

The younger Kelly was dismissed from the team Monday by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney for a pattern of conduct detrimental to the team.

“I let down not only my coaches, and teammates, but also Clemson University and all of our fans,” Kelly said. “Most importantly, I’ve let down myself and my family.”

Kelly, who would’ve been a third-year sophomore this fall, was in a three-way race in spring workouts with rising senior Cole Stoudt and true freshman Deshaun Watson to take over for three-year starter Tajh Boyd.

But Kelly threw a pair of interceptions and was not crisp at the Orange-and-White game Saturday that concludes spring drills. At one point, Kelly’s frustrations boiled over and he argued with coaches on the sideline. He was benched for the second half.

There was also an incident last week when Kelly was riding in a car that accidently backed into the vehicle of former Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, who has worked with the Tigers football team in the past.

Rogers said Kelly tried to get her to not file a police report and became agitated and disrespectful toward her.

The last straw came Monday at Kelly’s meeting with Swinney where he reacted harshly to news that the more experienced Stoudt would head into fall practice as the starter.

“He has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program,” Swinney said in dismissing Kelly.

When reached Wednesday, Swinney said he was proud of Kelly for apologizing and taking ownership of his actions.

“Hopefully, this will help him grow so he becomes the special person and player I know he can be,” Swinney said.

Kelly, 20, acknowledged Tuesday that he didn’t handle himself the way he should, saying he was “competitive to a fault, winning at all costs.”

He said he should’ve kept cool and calmly dealt with setbacks.

“I let my emotions get the best of me, culminating in this unfortunate situation with coach Swinney and the Clemson Tigers,” Kelly said. “What’s most important now is that I use this experience to grow as a student, as an athlete and most importantly, as a man.”

Kelly was expected to finish out the semester at Clemson before deciding where to continue playing football.

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound Kelly signed with the Tigers in February 2012, choosing Clemson over offers from Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State and Purdue. Kelly tore the ACL in his left knee at the 2013 spring game, yet returned in time for the season to play in five games.

He was 10-of-17 passing for 58 yards. He rushed 16 times for 117 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s not going to be easy, but no matter what happens, I’ll be a better person both on and off the field,” Kelly said.

Swinney was grateful for Kelly’s words and wished him well.

“I will be his biggest fan,” the coach said.

Kelly also ran into trouble during his time at Red Lion. He played for the Lions as a freshman and a sophomore, starting games in both seasons. However, he was suspended from the Red Lion team in both of those seasons for undisclosed reasons before his family moved to the Buffalo area, where he became a high school All-American at St. Joseph Collegiate Institute and eventually landed a scholarship at Clemson.

YORK DISPATCH STAFF AND WIRE REPORT

Kelly

Kelly

Chad Kelly’s departure from Clemson University has taken another troubling turn.

The former Red Lion High School quarterback was dismissed from the Tigers’ team by Head Coach Dabo Swinney on Monday for conduct detrimental to the team.

In announcing the dismissal, Swinney said Kelly had displayed a pattern of poor behavior. Swinney’s statement did not give any details, but did wish Kelly well.

Then on Tuesday it was reported that Kelly also tried to get a former Miss South Carolina connected to Clemson, Ali Rogers, not to report a fender-bender the two were involved in.

Rogers wrote on her Twitter account Tuesday that Kelly was a passenger in a car that backed into her vehicle, and when she wanted to call police to file a report, he got “very agitated and was extremely disrespectful.”

Kelly answered back with a Twitter post, “I Hope For Nothing But The Best For (at)AliARogers. Mistakes Happen, Just Living And Learning.”

Kelly also ran into trouble during his time at Red Lion. He played for the Lions as a freshman and a sophomore, starting games in both seasons. However, he was suspended from the Red Lion team in both of those seasons for undisclosed reasons before his family moved to the Buffalo area, where he became a high school All-American at St. Joseph Collegiate Institute and eventually landed a scholarship at Clemson.

Kelly is the nephew of Buffalo Bills star Jim Kelly.

Kelly’s dismissal likely stemmed from an incident during Clemson’s spring game last Saturday. Late in the first half, the Kelly-led Orange team faced a fourth-and-3 in White territory and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott, who called the plays for the Orange, opted to punt. Kelly was reportedly fuming.

Kelly voiced his dissatisfaction with the call at halftime to Scott and offensive coordinator Chad Morris, but after discussions with both coaches, Sweeney elected to bench Kelly for the second half of the contest.

“You’re not going to have guys crossing a line with the coaches just because they’re frustrated with whatever,” Swinney told the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. “He got frustrated and reacted the way your leader can’t react. It’s just that simple.”

Kelly completed 10-of-18 passes for 113 yards, but threw a pair of interceptions in the spring game. He was in a three-way competition at quarterback this spring with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson.

“I hope he will mature and grow from this and become the man and player I know he can be,” Swinney said of Kelly. “I wish him nothing but the best in the future academically and athletically.”

Kelly redshirted as a true freshman in 2012, then suffered a torn ACL in last year’s spring game. He made a speedy recovery and came back to play against South Carolina State last Sept. 7. Kelly played in five games in 2013 and completed 10-of-17 passes for 58 yards. He also rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown, including 56 yards on seven carries at Virginia.

Kelly’s future is unknown but he was a highly coveted prospect three years ago. He received offers from Syracuse, Florida State, Alabama, Michigan State and Cincinnati among others before verbally committing to Clemson in June, 2011.

QB competition: Despite Kelly’s departure, Clemson’s quarterback competition is not over just yet.

Swinney said in a text message to The Associated Press on Tuesday night that while senior Cole Stoudt is the starting quarterback coming out of spring ball, injured freshman Deshaun Watson will have the chance to compete for the spot this summer.

Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, “is starter coming of spring heading into fall,” Swinney wrote before adding that Watson will still have a chance win the job.

The Tigers open the season at Georgia on August 30.

Clemson is seeking a replacement for record-setting passer Tajh Boyd, the starter the past three years who led the Tigers to an Atlantic Coast Conference title in 2011 and consecutive 11-2 seasons the past two years.

Stoudt’s path to the top become more open when Watson cracked his collarbone at practice on April 7 and Kelly was dismissed from the program.

Kelly’s departure leaves a much thinner depth chart at quarterback than Swinney and offensive coordinator Chad Morris had hoped for at the important position. The only other passers who saw time in Saturday’s spring game were little used Nick Schuessler and walk-on Austin McCaskill.

The Tigers hope Stoudt and Watson can be as durable as Boyd has been the past three seasons. Boyd started all 40 games from 2011-13, usually giving way to backup Stoudt when the game was out of reach.

Stoudt threw for 158 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday’s game, the best showing of the four quarterbacks who played.

Stoudt has completed 86 of 119 career passes for 742 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception in his career.

Watson was one of the most highly sought after prospects among last year’s high school seniors. He accounted for 17,134 yards of total offense at Gainesville (Ga.) High and seems more in the dual-threat mode that Clemson has used to run its fast-paced attack the past three years.

Watson’s collarbone injury was considered “slight” by team doctors and he was expected back for workouts in about three weeks, giving him ample time to get up to speed on Clemson’s offense.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESSClemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced Monday that quarterback Chad Kelly was dismissed from the team.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced Monday that quarterback Chad Kelly was dismissed from the team. (Mark Crammer)

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly has been dismissed from the team two days after he was benched for the second half of the spring game for disagreeing with coaches over whether to go for it on fourth down.

Coach Dabo Swinney said Monday that Kelly was kicked off the team for conduct detrimental to the program. Swinney says Kelly had a pattern of poor behavior. Swinney’s statement did not give any details, but did wish Kelly well.

Kelly is no stranger to trouble. He played at Red Lion High School as a freshman and a sophomore, starting games in both seasons. However, he was suspended from the Red Lion team in both of those seasons for undisclosed reasons before his family moved to the Buffalo area, where he became a high school All-American at St. Joseph Collegiate Institute and eventually landed a scholarship at Clemson.

Kelly is the nephew of Buffalo Bills star Jim Kelly. The sophomore was expected to compete with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson to replace Tajh Boyd behind center this fall.

Kelly played in five games in 2013, completing 10 of 17 passes for 58 yards and running 16 times for 117 yards.

By STEVE HEISER

505-5446/@ydsports

There are a three new members of the York Area Sports Hall of Fame.

One was a legendary athlete at West York High School in the 1960s.

One has carved out a stellar 30-plus year playing career in tennis.

And the third was a standout wrestler at both the scholastic and intercollegiate levels.

All three later became coaches.

John Sprenkle, Jim Kohr and Brad Lloyd will be inducted into the local hall of fame on Sunday, May 11, at Santander Stadium — the home of the York Revolution. The induction ceremony will occur before that day’s Revs’ game against Southern Maryland, which is slated to start at 5 p.m. Past inductees into the hall of fame are invited to attend this year’s event and share in the 50th year celebration of York Area Sports Night, which is the sponsoring organization for the York Area Hall of Fame.

Sprenkle: Sprenkle had a rare combination of size, strength and speed.

In the late 1960s, Sprenkle excelled as a two-way football tackle and heavyweight wrestler for the Bulldogs, and he was also an accomplished hurdler and shot put and discus thrower in track and field. He helped West York win consecutive York County football titles and was later named the captain of the Pennsylvania Big 33 team. As a wrestler, he went undefeated as a senior and won a state heavyweight championship.

The 6-foot, 2-inch, 230-pounder had offers from many major colleges, including Penn State, before choosing to play for Virginia Tech. He excelled with the Hokies on the football field, and also wrestled for them as a freshman, when he advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

After graduating, he returned to West York to teach and coach. He coached football for 16 years and wrestling for 14 years.

Kohr: Kohr was a standout at Central York High School, compiling an overall record of 37-3, including a York County singles crown in 1983.

He went on to earn a full, four-year scholarship to North Texas, where he won at least 20 matches in each of his four seasons there. He was a team captain at North Texas for three years.

Kohr has won 16 York City-County men’s singles championships, more than any other player. He’s also long been a highly ranked competitor in the United States Tennis Association Middle State Region.

Kohr coached tennis at Central York and has been the tennis director at several clubs in the region. He has coached many of the top young players in the area in the past two decades.

Lloyd: Being a Hall of Famer is nothing new for Lloyd, who already belongs to the Eastern Wrestling League, Lock Haven University, District 3 Wrestling Coaches and Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches halls of fame.

At Red Lion High School, Lloyd compiled a career record of 106-11-1, including a District 3 title at 119 pounds in 1983 and a third-place PIAA finish at 145 in 1984.

At Lock Haven, he was a three-time NCAA Division I All-American, finishing seventh in 1986 at 167, third in 1988 at 177 and second in 1989 at 177. He was a three-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion and finished his college career at 146-25-2. He is the winningest wrestler in Lock Haven history.

He later coached the Red Lion High varsity wrestling team from 1992 until 1997. He has most recently coached at the junior high level at Dallastown.

The York Area Sports Hall of Fame, which was started in 1973, is located at Insurance Services United at 224 N. George St., York. When Sprenkle, Kohr and Lloyd are added, the local hall of fame will have 123 members.

— Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.

York Dispatch Staff Report

A 1961 York High graduate was recently inducted into the Pennsylvania Swimming Hall of Fame.

Longtime West Chester University head diving coach Ronn Jenkins was inducted into the elite group during the PIAA Class AA Boys’ Swimming and Diving Finals in the Kinney Natatorium at Bucknell University.

Jenkins, who has been a volunteer diving coach at West Chester University for the past 40 years, was inducted into the hall of fame with the rest of the Class of 2014, which consisted of Jamy Pfister and Richard Hunkler.

“I am humbled …,” Jenkins said. “While the list of former inductees reads like a Who’s Who of some of the most influential individuals in aquatics, this selection has an even more special meaning to me because my former teachers and coaches (Charles Boekel, John deBarbadillo, Henry W. Goodwin, Bill Schmidt, and Edward T. Twardowski) are all members of the hall of fame. In addition to giving me an outstanding basis for teaching and coaching, these individuals also provided me with examples of role-modeling, caring, understanding individual differences and developing a passion for whatever one endeavors.

“The list also contains a myriad of former classmates, teammates, former competitors, coaches, colleagues and other individuals for whom I have had the utmost respect and pleasure knowing. My being included has given me an even greater impetus to become worthy among these giants.”

Jenkins has tutored countless All-Americans and conference champions in his four decades of service to West Chester University. Before coaching at West Chester, Jenkins was the diving coach (while in graduate school) at Bucknell University. His very first coaching experiences began at the York YMCA and the York Suburban High School. In February 2009, West Chester University honored Jenkins by inducting him into the school’s athletics hall of fame.

After a standout career at York High, Jenkins won a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference individual diving title while also capturing a Mid-Atlantic Conference diving championship during his college career at WCU. He was named the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s most outstanding athlete in 1964. Jenkins also captured two Junior Olympic titles during his diving days in the early 1960s.

Jenkins was appointed the coordinator of diving officials at the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Ga. He served in the same capacity for the World Games one year earlier in Atlanta. Jenkins has also served as chairperson on the U.S. Diving Committee on Diversity from 1991-94 and was a member of the NCAA Swimming & Diving Committee from 1995-99. In 1995, Jenkins was named the national diving coach of the year.

Jenkins taught at the York Suburban and coached diving before getting a graduate fellowship to attend Bucknell University. He then worked as a professor at West Chester University, eventually becoming chairman of the department of educational services, before his retirement from the university in 2005. In addition to earning his master’s degree from Bucknell University, Jenkins also earned a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2011, Jenkins was presented with the Martin Luther King “Drum Major for Justice” award because of his dedication and service to West Chester University.

York Dispatch Staff Report

Central York High School graduate Megan Lundy, a sophomore at Shippensburg University, was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week on Tuesday after a strong effort at the Colonial Relays at William & Mary.

Lundy began her weekend by running a sub-56-second anchor leg on a 4×400-meter relay team that placed fifth in an NCAA provisional time of 3:48.83. That relay team ranks 15th in NCAA Division II. On Saturday, Lundy made her collegiate debut in the 400 hurdles and became SU’s season pace-setter in the event, finishing in 1:04.20 to rank third in the PSAC. It’s the third time Lundy has received a weekly honor from the PSAC.

John Kuhn

John Kuhn (AP)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Lambeau Field faithful will be able to scream Kuuuuuuuuuhn! at the top of their lungs for at least another year.

Veteran fullback and local folk hero John Kuhn re-signed with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, coming to terms on a one-year deal, agent Kevin Gold said. Kuhn is a graduate of Dover High School.

The deal is expected to be worth just over $1 million.

Kuhn, 31, joined the Packers in 2007 when he was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh. He’s played in 107 regular-season games as a Packer and he’s become a fan favorite for his workingman’s approach to the game. He’s also one of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ closest friends on the team.

“Great player, great teammate,” Rodgers said at the end of the 2013 season. “(There’s) nobody I trust more on the field than John. He’s an exceptional guy, I love playing with him, and I’d be really sad if we weren’t able to walk out of that tunnel together as we do (when we) come out of the locker room for pregame warm-ups. John and I have walked together for the last six, seven years, and he’s always been somebody I could really count on the field and just a great football player.”

In 2013, Kuhn carried 10 times for 38 yards (with one touchdown) and caught 13 passes for 81 yards in regular-season play. For his eight-year NFL career, Kuhn has only 165 carries for 506 yards and 12 TDs.

What role Kuhn will play next season is unclear. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said last week he wants all his running backs to be able to play all three downs. In addition to Kuhn, the Packers have NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy returning for his second season; James Starks coming back after signing a two-year, $3.166 million deal ($725,000 guaranteed signing bonus); and DuJuan Harris (knee) and Johnathan Franklin (neck) both expected to return to full health.

They also brought back Michael Hill, who spent time on both the 53-man roster and the practice squad last year befo re signing with Tampa Bay late in the year.

The Packers are loaded in the backfield.

“It’s important for all of them to be three-down players,” McCarthy said. “For the way we want to play on offense, we want players to be three-down players, we want to keep our substitution limited. That’s an offseason goal of ours.”

At this point, no one pass protects for Rodgers like Kuhn, who helped save the Packers’ season by getting enough of a block on now-teammate Julius Peppers to allow Rodgers to side-step the Chicago defensive end and throw the winning touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the regular-season finale. That road victory over the Bears sent the Packers into the playoffs.

Asked what it takes to be an effective third-down back, McCarthy made it clear what still matters the most.

“A-No. 1, it is pass protection. We protect the quarterback,” McCarthy said. “He’s a franchise quarterback, he’s the best football player on our team, and we have to pro tect him. Checkdowns will (also) be an emphasis for us. Because we’re very young with that group.”

But with a whole lot of returning experience in Kuhn.


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