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Packers face tough decision on Jenkins' future

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Feb. 05, 2011 @ 4:42 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Everybody connected with the Packers will tell you there's an awful lot to like about Cullen Jenkins.

"He's our best pass rusher, as far as a down lineman," said head coach Mike McCarthy three days before the Packers hopped on a plane to North Texas for this year's Super Bowl. "When he's healthy, he's as good as it gets."

But unfortunately for Jenkins, his health has been a major issue on more than one occasion during his seven-year career.

In 2008, Jenkins got off to a blazing start before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury in the fourth game.

Fast forward to Week 13 this season, when his best performance of the year, highlighted by a pair of sacks, came to an abrupt halt due to a calf injury late in the game that forced him to miss the last four games of the regular season.

It's injury setbacks like those, team sources tell us, that are guaranteed to lead to more than a few sleepless nights for Packers GM Ted Thompson as he weighs the pros and cons of re-signing Jenkins, whose four-year, $16 million contract with the team expires after the Super Bowl.

Jenkins did not hide his frustration over the lack of progress on a potential new deal earlier in the year. More recently, in addition to dealing with the calf injury that he told PFW was "probably about 90 percent" healed, Jenkins had been trying to come to grips with an entirely different type of frustration.

For nearly two months, he had been unable to contact his father, Darome Jenkins, but he was feeling a sense of relief the Thursday night before the Super Bowl after police in Hawaii told the Associated Press that his dad was doing fine.

"This year has just been one that has really tested me a lot, dealing with a lot of different adversity in a lot of different situations, whether it is off the field or on the field," Jenkins told PFW during Super Bowl week.

But with Super Sunday fast approaching, he couldn't have been happier about the impact he had made in the playoffs after missing the last month of the season.

"It feels good, especially with all of the different injuries that I have had to overcome," Jenkins said.

But it very much remains to be seen whether a nice new contract keeps that good feeling alive.

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