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B.J. Raji Discusses Return to Packers

B.J. Raji reportedly turned down a long-term offer from the Packers in 2013; now he returns on a 1-year deal after hitting a cold free agent market
(WFRV-TV) - Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji returned to the practice field for the first time this week since signing a 1-year, $4 million in March.

It's a far cry from the long-term, big money contract the 6'2" 330 pounder reportedly turned down from the Packers in 2013.  And it's likely not what he expected when he hit the free agent market at age 27.  But Raji seems content with the result, and seems ready to prove himself after his worst statistical season.

"Ultimately it was a decision I made so it wasn't like I did it with any remorse," said Raji on returning.  "I was happy to come back."

Raji said head coach Mike McCarthy told him he'd return to playing the nose tackle position he prefers if he were to re-sign with Green Bay.  That, along with being in a place he feels is ready to win now, were key in his decision.  Raji also said with the addition of Peppers, draft picks, and the guys returning he believes the defense can return to "a top 10, top 5 unit."

If that is to happen, Raji's play as the anchor of the defensive line will have to return to the level it was when he helped the Packers win the Super Bowl in 2010.

"Ultimately you want the long term contract, but as in any year you have to prove yourself," said Raji. "I feel like I'm up to the challenge."

Pressed on if he wished he had signed the long-term deal that was on the table a year ago, Raji laughed and then answered.

"I'm not going to get into that. Speaking from the heart I think things worked out properly. I didn't want to do anything & have a remorseful feeling."

Now, he hopes to leave 31 other NFL teams feeling that way for not signing him this offseason.
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