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Conflicting reports on John Kuhn’s future in Green Bay

John Kuhn

Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn (30) warms up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Mike Roemer

Does longtime Packers fullback John Kuhn have a future in Green Bay? That depends on which report you believe.

According to WTMJ, Kuhn wants to play for the Packers this year but the team has “moved on.” Rob Demovsky of ESPN reports, however, that Kuhn hasn’t heard anything about the team wanting to move on. And USA Today reports that there is “mutual interest” between the Packers and Kuhn.

The 33-year-old Kuhn has been a fixture in Green Bay since 2007. He’s popular with fans and he’s a four-time Pro Bowler.

But the reality is, NFL teams just don’t have much room for fullbacks anymore, and Kuhn is no exception. Last year Kuhn was healthy for all 16 games, but he only played 27 percent of the Packers’ offensive snaps. On most plays, the Packers don’t have a fullback on the field. Kuhn does still contribute on special teams (he played 35 percent of the Packers’ special teams snaps last year), but the Packers may fill his shoes on special teams with someone younger, faster and cheaper.

Last year the Packers spent a sixth-round draft pick on fullback Aaron Ripkowski, and this year they signed Alstevis Squirewell, a former Newberry College defensive lineman whom they think has the athletic potential to play fullback in the NFL. It appears likely that Ripkowski and Squirewell will compete to take Kuhn’s spot, even if Kuhn isn’t ready to say goodbye to Green Bay yet.