Geronimo Allison: 'Still G-Mo' even after injury that'll make a man wince

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Geronimo Allison didn't care what other NFL teams might offer him as a restricted free agent.

"I'm not ready to go anywhere yet," he said.

And he's not concerned where new coach Matt LaFleur lines him up in the Green Bay Packers' offense.

"You don't want to be in a one-position role; that's limiting yourself," Allison said.

It certainly seems as if the receiver has everything in order for his all-important fourth NFL season. Fresh off signing a one-year, $2.8 million contract that included a $750,000 signing bonus, the former undrafted free agent says he believes he's in prime position for a big season.

Of course, it looked that way four games into last season, too. At that point, he had 19 catches for 289 yards and two touchdowns before a concussion in Week 4 started his problems. Additionally, a hamstring injury kept him out until after the bye. When he came back, he posted one more catch for 14 yards before a painful practice injury (more on that to come) to his midsection ended his season and led him to core muscle surgery by noted Philadelphia-based specialist Dr. Williams Meyers.

"I feel confident where I'm at," Allison told ESPN.com in a phone interview this week. "I'm still able to do the same things I could before the injury. I took the proper time. I was mentally strong during the rehab process. My body is physically strong. I'm still 'G-Mo.' I'm 100 percent myself. You see it with ACLs and people come back and they're not the same. You never know what it is -- if they rushed the process or they don't trust the surgery or trust the ligament -- but I can tell you, I'm praying every night for full health and full strength to use my talents for good. I think I'm making a good comeback and I feel confident in myself."

His four-game numbers last year projected to the kind of season -- 76 catches, 1,156 yards and eight touchdowns -- that might prompt teams to consider signing him to an offer sheet after the Packers put only the low restricted free agent tender of $2.025 million on him. Because he came into the league undrafted, teams wouldn't have to give up any draft pick if the Packers didn't match an offer.

But Allison showed more interest in continuing what he started in Green Bay. And, of course, furthering the connection he built with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. So when the Packers and his agents settled on the one-year deal that would give him some upfront money and more in the end than the low RFA tender, he jumped at the chance for a prove-it year before he would become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

"This is home for me right now," Allison said. "And I want to leave my mark here before I test the waters to go anywhere else. I want to be here. I'm loved here and this is an awesome organization, awesome facility to work in, awesome place to live, and that's what I'm trying to take full advantage of. I'm playing with a Hall of Famer. I don't know how many years he's got left in him. He's slinging it around and I want to be that friend and that teammate for him to help bring another championship here."

For Allison, that could be as the Packers' new slot receiver after Randall Cobb signed with the Cowboys in free agency. Although Allison doesn't fit the prototypical slot build -- he's 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds compared to the 5-10, 192-pound Cobb -- the Packers say they believe it could work. And they might be right. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 43.6 percent of Allison's career NFL receptions have come with him lined up on the inside.

LaFleur noted that he has worked bigger-than-typical slot receivers in the past such as Cooper Kupp (6-2, 208) with the Rams and Mohamed Sanu (6-2, 218) with the Falcons.

"There's a lot of versatility within our receiving corps that we have already," LaFLeur told reporters this week at the NFL annual meetings in Phoenix.

The Packers are still expected to be in the market for a receiver high in the draft even after picking three last year in the late rounds -- J'Mon Moore (fourth round), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (fifth) and Equanimeous St. Brown (sixth). At this point, Pro Bowler Davante Adams is their only proven threat. The long-striding Valdes-Scantling looks like a potential big-play receiver on the outside. St. Brown is perhaps better suited in the slot. Moore struggled so much as a rookie that it's unclear what kind of future he has. There's also Jake Kumerow returning, but he also looks like an outside receiver.

The rookie trio was forced into early action in part because of what happened to Allison the week of the Nov. 4 game at New England. He went down in a heap during a one-on-one practice drill with a feeling that when he describes it would make any man wince.

"I tell people that it honestly felt like my testicles twisted," Allison said, pausing for a moment to let that sink in.

"That was the feeling that I felt. The trainers came over to me and checked on me and those were the words out of my mouth: I feel like my testicles twisted."

What really happened, Allison found out later, was he that he "basically tore my adductor [muscles] from my pelvis."

Allison has spent much of his offseason in Green Bay, and he said he's mostly back to his normal workout routine. To sign his contract, he had to pass a physical. In fact, he had just left Lambeau Field as he spoke about last year. The topic that day wasn't about Allison, but rather one of his former teammates, Jordy Nelson, who retired from the NFL that morning.

For three minutes straight -- the final three minutes of the interview -- Allison spoke uninterrupted and without pause about Nelson and what one of the all-time Packers greats meant to him. He said he would carry all of it with him in this, his fourth NFL season. But in short, Allison said this: "Little things that Jordy did with me helped shape me and how I'm going to be a veteran to some of the guys coming up behind me."

No wonder LaFleur likes what he has seen and heard from Allison.

"Getting Geronimo back from injury, how he responds is going to be critical because he's another guy that has a lot of flexibility to play inside or outside," LaFleur said. "Davante is the same way."