In an interview with WSSP in Milwaukee, Ryan Grant said he was told by former running backs coach Edgar Bennett that he would be the Packers starting running back heading into the 2011 season.
From Eric Schmoldt over at Sports Radio Interviews:
After missing most of last year with an injury, are you still considered the starter?:
I would think so. I don’t know. From what I’ve heard, that’s the conversation that was told to me. … I was told that by [former running backs coach Edgar Bennett], initially. Jerry [Fontenot, the new position coach] didn’t tell me that anything changed. Jerry told me that as of right now I’m still the leader of the backfield and the expectations won’t change. … I do believe there will be competition, which is fine. I’m all for that.
But you want to start, right?:
Of course. Why would you not want to? Who doesn’t want that? 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.
What if they asked you to be the backup?:
If it was in the best interest of the team, I’m all for it.
There’s a very small chance that the Packers could see Grant take the field and decide they don’t want to pay him the $1.75 million roster bonus he is due on the 15th day of the league year (whenever that happens to be) – but I would be shocked if that happened.
More likely, Grant will be the starter in a time-share with second year back James Starks. The coaching staff reportedly loves Starks so it will be interesting to see how much the “starters” designation means in terms of number of carries and snaps from scrimmage throughout the course of a game. My hunch is the team will be happy to ride Grant, using Starks as its warranted until next season when Grant is set to be a free agent. At that point, Grant can either resign at a Packer-friendly rate or try his luck in free agency. Either way, the Packers will have a fully seasoned Starks ready to take over the starters job.