Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cole takes center stage in offseason

Lineman set for free agency

By Rob Reischel

February 24, 2009

Green Bay - The answer drew a few chuckles - not only from the questioner, but also from Colin Cole's nearby teammates.

As the 2008 NFL season wound down, Cole was asked about his future. The Green Bay Packer defensive lineman and soon-to-be free agent had this to say.

"I think (general manager) Ted (Thompson) likes me. I think he likes me a lot," Cole said. "And to be honest with you, I don't care if I'm talked about anywhere except for that circle upstairs. That's the only circle that really matters."

Free agency begins Friday, and it's an extremely light year for the Packers.

In addition to Cole, defensive end Mike Montgomery and right tackle Mark Tauscher are the lone unrestricted free agents. And Cole may be right, as it appears he's the player Green Bay would like to sign first.

The 6-foot-1, 330-pound Cole was one of the Packers' most consistent defensive linemen in 2008. And Green Bay believes Cole can play nose tackle, and even some defensive end, in their new 3-4 scheme.

Cole, who turns 29 in June, played last season for $1.4 million, the highest figure of his five years in Green Bay. This will be his best and perhaps last chance at a bigger contract, so Cole may very well want to test the market.

Cole is coming off his best season in Green Bay. Cole played in all 16 games and set career-highs in quarterback pressures (11½) and passes defensed (four).

"Do I love Colin Cole? Well, not in an emotional sense," Thompson said. "But I like Colin quite a bit. He's a very good person, he's a good teammate and a little bit of an underrated player."

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