OL David Bakhtiari Aiming To Play Another Couple Of Years

Despite being limited to only 13 games over the past three seasons, David Bakhtiari believes he can still play a few more years. During an appearance on The Adam Schefter Podcast, Bakhtiari said he was “really happy” with his recovery from November knee surgery and can still contribute in 2024.

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“A lot of other people wanted me to just kind of grit through it, but no one experiences what you truly experience,” Bakhtiari said (via ESPN). “Look, I’ve been gritting through it for three years. I’m in constant pain. I’m so happy now to be on the other side of it and get the actual surgery that I needed because my knee was not in a good place.”

Since tearing his ACL late in the 2020 campaign, the offensive lineman has undergone five knee surgeries. His most-recent operation followed a one-game outing with the Packers in 2023. Despite his lack of availability over the past few years, the free agent said he’s received interest from teams this offseason. The 32-year-old said he still has to overcome a handful of hurdles before he can return to the field, and he estimated that he could sign with a team at some point between the start of training camp and the start of the regular season.

“My goal right now is just to make sure that I not only fully recover but I can withstand and play the game that I want to play but also play and be there for a team no matter what,” Bakhtiari said. “I’m not a reliever guy, I am your cornerstone guy. Someone that’s not only going to play in September but in December and into February and obviously hopefully for another couple of years.”

The long-time Packers lineman was cut by the organization back in March. The former fourth-round pick got into 131 games across his 11 seasons with the organization, earning five-straight All-Pro nods. Unfortunately, his last three-plus seasons have been defined by his absences. His 2020 campaign ended early thanks to that aforementioned ACL tear, and he returned for only one game in 2021. He managed to play in 11 games during his comeback season in 2022, but he only got into one game this past year before undergoing season-ending knee surgery.

Considering his connection to Green Bay and former QB Aaron Rodgers, both the Packers and Jets have been mentioned as potential suitors. However, Bakhtiari told Schefter that he isn’t anticipating joining either squad. The lineman specifically pointed to the Jets’ offseason acquisitions of veterans Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses and first-round rookie Olu Fashanu.

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