Colledge savors return to Lambeau
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Daryn Colledge had never been the player asked to do the conference call with the opposing team’s local media. After all, as the offensive lineman who protected Brett Favre for two years and Aaron Rodgers for three seasons during his time with the Packers, Colledge wasn’t exactly highly requested for those types of interviews.
Now in his second year with the Arizona Cardinals, Colledge has been passed over for those opportunities by star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
This week, in his seventh NFL season, the 30-year-old Colledge finally had his 15 minutes of fame. Well, more like his 15 minutes of talking on the phone with a group of reporters, but still.
“You guys always liked talking to me when I was there anyways,” Colledge said with a laugh. “You guys always like to hold me up.”
After the Packers decided to let Colledge leave in free agency in 2011, the Cardinals signed him to a five-year, $27.5 million contract, with nearly $10 million guaranteed. And Colledge, Green Bay’s second-round pick in 2006, has performed very well in his new home.
“He’s really done a nice job for us this year,” Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “I’d say he’s been our most consistent lineman and has done a good job in a leadership role with those guys.”
The Cardinals’ offensive line has been the worst in the NFL this season, by far. They’ve allowed 39 sacks, which is 11 more than Green Bay has given up. The Packers are second in the league in that undesirable category.
But those struggles to keep Arizona quarterbacks John Skelton and Kevin Kolb upright haven’t been Colledge’s fault. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Colledge has only been responsible for one of those 39 sacks. His 2.9 overall rating is the best on the team by a substantial margin.
“I came here, and I knew it was going to be a little bit of a rebuilding process,” Colledge said. “We knew we had a bunch of young guys coming in. There was going to be some challenges.”
Colledge’s former spot on Green Bay’s offensive line now belongs to T.J. Lang. Though the Packers weren’t interested in re-signing Colledge, they’ve already extended Lang’s contract for an additional four years.
“This business is one of those ones that it never goes exactly how you want it to go or think it will go, but I had a great time there,” Colledge said. “My time was special there. I won a lot of games, went to the playoffs three times and won a championship. I have no regrets about the things I did there.
“I feel like I came in and did the things I was asked to do. I never missed a single game. I showed up to work every single day. I didn’t always do the best job, but I felt like the team knew exactly who I was. I came to work every single day and they knew that’s what they were going to get.
“I’m excited for T.J. and I’m excited about the opportunities I had there, but I’m also excited about my opportunities here in Arizona. I’m glad to be with these guys. But again, it’ll be great to come back to Green Bay. It’s a special place to play. I think there’s a certain kind of mystique that goes with being a Green Bay Packer and playing at Lambeau Field. I’ll never forget that stuff.”