NFC Notes: Raji, Alonso, D. Washington

Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji missed all of last season with a torn bicep and then re-signed with the team on a one-year deal earlier this offseason, but Green Bay wasn’t his only suitor in free agency.

“I actually, ironically, had more interest this time around than last year,” said Raji, according to Jason Wilde of “I’m talking about as far as the contending teams. I had two, three playoff teams.”

One of those teams was the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots, per Wilde, but Raji simply couldn’t bring himself to leave Green Bay.

“I just wasn’t comfortable leaving this place in the shape that it was in, the perception about the defense, the perception of myself,” Raji said. “If I was going to leave this place, I wanted to be able to say, ‘Yeah, those guys really get it.’ I didn’t want to leave with questions. As a person, having a lot invested in this program, if it is ever time to leave, I want to leave on a good note.”

Here’s the latest on a couple of the Packers’ fellow NFC teams:

  • Eagles linebacker Kiko Alonso, whom the team acquired from Buffalo earlier this offseason, missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in July. There don’t seem to be any lingering effects from the injury, however, as the 24-year-old is ahead of schedule in his recovery, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I honestly didn’t think I’d be doing this much,” said Alonso, who participated in organized team activities this week without wearing a brace. “I’ve just been going on how I feel, and it’s feeling really good.”
  • Speaking of the Eagles’ defense, the team revamped its secondary in the offseason by signing Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, using a first-round pick on Eric Rowe, and parting ways with Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, and Nate Allen. Despite all the noteworthy additions and subtractions, safety Malcolm Jenkins believes the most important move Philadelphia made with respect to its secondary was replacing previous defensive backs coach John Lovett with Cory Undlin, who coached Denver’s DBs from 2013-14. “Adding Cory Undlin is really probably the biggest addition we had when you talk about upgrading that (defensive backs) room,” said Jenkins, according to Reuben Frank of The Lovett-led Eagles finished 2014 second last in the NFL in pass defense and toward the bottom of the league in interceptions.
  • The league suspended Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington for four games in 2013 and all of 2014 because of multiple substance-abuse violations, and he’s expected to miss time this year because of domestic-violence issues. Despite all that baggage, Washington’s teammates still want him back, head coach Bruce Arians told Bob McManaman of If he’s reinstated by the league, I know this – our players want him back in the locker room. That’s fine by me,” said Arians.
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