GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It's not about the third- and fourth-down conversions or even the fourth-down, play-saving blocks, not with John Kuhn.
It's about this, what he calls the greatest time of the year -- the playoffs.
So how do you account for the eighth-year veteran fullback and what he means to this team? A leader? Hard-charger? Least-expected ball carrier?
One thing he's not -- not since Week 6 against Baltimore a fumbler.
Yeah, he remembers.
He should have just let that blocked punt go, but he fielded it and lost it. Green Bay beat the Ravens by two, but the play looked so bad, coming from him, one of the sharpest players on the team.
And yet it is his only lost fumble of his career. He had a fumble in 2010 -- one in 165 career rushing attempts -- but it was recovered. None otherwise.
"I just recently had come back from a hamstring," Kuhn said of the play in Baltimore. "I think it was my second game back, I was really trying to get back in to the swing of things. Really just trying to make a play for the team and really do something great -- and I found out that trying to press isn't always the best way."
He was criticized for the poor judgment from where it matters to him the most. Inside the building.
"A little bit, yeah, and that's part of it," Kuhn said. "Constructive criticism from the coaching staff, from the other players on the team, that's all part of the learning curve. You make a bonehead play like that, the criticism is going to make you better.
"But you have to know how to properly channel it. You can't let it negatively affect you; you have to make it push you in a positive manner. People who do that tend to be successful coming off of situations."
Since then, Kuhn has been nothing but solid with his usual share of carries and catches. Otherwise, he's enjoyed blocking for Eddie Lacy (4.1 yards per carry) and James Starks (5.5).
"During that time period Aaron Rodgers was out, we had to re-identify ourselves as an offense," Kuhn said. "We got back to running the ball.
"It's been a really fun year blocking for both of those guys. They both run tremendously hard. They both, at any given time, can break runs. Eddie is more of a take a shot, give a shot, take another shot, give another shot. And James is lightning in a bottle. He can break a tackle and go the distance at any time. It's fun being the guy in front of them."
Then he gets one of the fourth-down conversions on the game-winning drive at Chicago. He took no credit for the block on Julius Peppers that gave Rodgers a fraction of a second longer to make the winning throw.
"It was a phenomenal throw, he threw it off-balance, going to the opposite side and off of one leg," Kuhn said.
Individual achievements don't seem to mean much to the fullback. He's got more of a lineman's mentality: selfless, hard-working, self-effacing.
"We don't have a lot of big-time superstar guys that are 'me' people," guard T.J. Lang said. "With John, he's always doing stuff to put us in the best position and not be selfish. I mean, 99 percent of our locker room cares about team success over individual success. And John, being one of the older guys, is definitely the leader in that category.
"Plus, he's a bigger guy -- he's about 270, so he kind of looks like a little O-lineman."
Sunday already will be Kuhn's 115th career game (eighth in the playoffs). That's the only individual stat that seems to matter at all.
"Where I'm kind of at in my career right now, I just feel like I want to continue to stack success," Kuhn said. "I want to try and show some longevity with having success. And I want to prove that one or two years of good play isn't just me; I want to have several years of good play."
And with that, he's earned a few fans, even in his own locker room.
"He's tough, blue collar, he just gets the job done," nose tackle Ryan Pickett said. "He does a lot of dirty work nobody sees. I can kind of relate to him. We kind of do the same thing."
"Kuhn knows his role," cornerback Sam Shields said. "He's been playing for a long time and he knows that role. Special-teams guru. When everybody says 'Kuuuuuhn,' he knows what he has to do and he does it. He's a team leader."
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