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Kampman has 'fire' for DE


Aaron Kampman expects to be fully recovered from knee surgery by the start of training camp, and the early indication is that Kampman is destined to become the Jaguars' right defensive end.

"My knee is great. I'm very encouraged by it. I think I will be ready to go, but whether that's two (practices) a day or one (practice) a day, I don't know," Kampman said when asked if he expects to be ready to participate in practice when training camp begins.

Kampman tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Nov. 22 of last season and underwent knee reconstruction on Dec. 4. Considered to be a tireless worker, Kampman said he has spent the past three months in "the weight room getting my defensive end body back."

When the Packers switched from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 alignment under new defensive coordinator Dom Capers last season, Kampman moved from defensive end to linebacker. The sack totals to which he had been accustomed did not follow, as his sacks declined from 9.5 in 2008 to 3.5 last year. He had a career-high 15.5 sacks in 2006 and 12 in '07.

"I'm excited to put my hand back on the ground. I have a fire burning to do that," Kampman said, then adding: "We have talked about right end. I've done both in my career."

The expectation is for Derrick Harvey to move from right end to left end, effectively making room for Kampman to become the Jaguars' blind-side pass-rusher.

"I'm a leverage rusher. I'm not going to try to run around guys," he said.

Kampman was also being pursued hotly in free agency by the Eagles, but elected to make Jacksonville his first and, subsequently, only stop.

"I feel like I have a chance to be part of something here, putting that standard back to where it's been," Kampman said of the Jaguars' reputation for strong defense, which has fallen on hard times the past two seasons. He said he was also attracted by the Jaguars' interest in "values, character and doing things the right way."

Late in the '08 season, Kampman played for the Packers in a 20-16 loss in Jacksonville. He is credited with five tackles and no sacks in that game.

"I remember getting around David's (Garrard) ankles a couple of times and thinking this guy is strong. We couldn't sack him," Kampman said.

The hope is Kampman will provide the pass-rush the Jaguars lacked last season, as the team was last in the league with a franchise-low 14 sacks.

"I don't know about being the missing link, but I think I can help. I hope I can help," he said.

Reports are Kampman signed a four-year deal worth $26 million, which includes $11 million in guaranteed money.

He told reporters during Monday's press conference that his weight is 262 and is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from ACL surgery. It is generally considered that ACL injuries require a year's worth of recovery, but Kampman doesn't subscribe to that timeline.

"Those are normal timelines. What I try to do is not put normal timelines in my mind. We're not on normal timelines," Kampman said.

The Packers told Kampman they were going to make a contract offer, but "the better fit was down here. The direction of that organization didn't include me as much as it had in the past," he said.

"Obviously we had a need to create pressure and we feel like Aaron can certainly help us in that area," Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith in explaining the team's interest in Kampman. "He's ahead of schedule rehab-wise and he hasn't had any setbacks. It's the first significant injury of his playing career. He's not a 320-pound defensive lineman, he's a 265-pound defensive end. It's a risk-reward situation. We felt the calculated risk was worth taking."

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