New LB Kirksey bringing versatility, leadership to Packers defense

Packers linebacker Christian Kirksey is feeling comfortable in his new Green Bay defense.

That’s because it’s not all that new to him. The former Cleveland Brown started his NFL career learning current Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme, so as he joins a new team, he doesn’t actually have to start from scratch.

“As soon as I opened up the playbook, I was so familiar with it…The only difference is the terminology,” he said.

Kirksey signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Packers and will replace Blake Martinez at inside linebacker. He said on a Zoom call with media that he enjoys the family culture he’s experiencing in team meetings and is eager to join the ranks of team leaders alongside Za’Darius and Preston Smith. He believes he’ll be able to bring more versatility to the inside linebacker position, as he’s capable of defending against the run and matching up with a tight end on passing downs. He’s ready to do whatever’s needed to be a part of a winning team.

“I’ve never even had a winning season in my career,” Kirksey said. “Just to get on a Zoom meeting be a part of a team meeting and hear a head coach say we’re going to be the hunted, I was excited, I was revved up, because I’ve never been a part of that.”