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Packers RB AJ Dillon looks to 'play free' in 2023, earn another contract in Green Bay

Like much of the Green Bay Packers offense, running back AJ Dillon had an up-and-down 2022 campaign.

The bulldozing back admitted his inconsistency last year, when he rushed for 770 yards on 186 carries -- a career-low 4.1 yards per carry -- with seven touchdowns.

"It wasn't a bad year or anything like that, but it wasn't the year I was hoping for last year," Dillon said recently, via the Wisconsin State Journal. "So, obviously, there's things I need to work on. But the biggest thing for me is just the mentality of, 'I'm going to go out there and I'm going to play free.'"

With Aaron Jones returning on a revised contract, Dillon is set to share the backfield snaps once again in Green Bay. Entering a contract season, the 247-pound bully wants to prove he can be a playmaker in the revised offense.

"I love Green Bay. Green Bay knows that. I love the Packers. The Packers know that," he said. "I'd play here until I can't run anymore. I'll pick up long snapper or whatever it is when I start slowing down. But there's only so much I can control. My biggest thing is having the mindset that I'm going to come in here and keep doing my thing. And when it's time to go play ball, I'm going to go out there and play free and have fun -- how I used to back in college, high school.

"And how ever that happens -- whether it's 1,000 yards, 2,000 yards, 100 yards -- so be it. I'm going to have fun and enjoy all the time I have here. And hopefully we're back here next year."

With Jordan Love taking over under center, Dillon and Jones project as the anchors of the offense. The 25-year-old Dillon hopes playing free will add up to a big campaign that will ensure the Packers want to keep him around in 2024 and beyond. 

"It's just playing free and having fun and playing with that passion and love for the game," he said. "It'll all take care of itself. Like I always say, Green Bay is home for us whether football is here or somewhere else. We'll be back here eventually. (But) obviously, I want to be in the green and gold."

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