Nick Barnett

Barnett REALLY wants to come back.

[intlink id="139" type="category"]Nick Barnett[/intlink] wants to finish his career with the Green Bay Packers.

He made that abundantly clear Thursday, saying he’s willing to work with the organization to make it happen.

The Packers may have other ideas, though. Barnett has finished two of the last three seasons on injured reserve and would seem to be the odd man out after both [intlink id="492" type="category"]Desmond Bishop[/intlink], his replacement in the starting lineup, and [intlink id="80" type="category"]A.J. Hawk[/intlink] signed new deals with the Packers this year.

The team will reportedly either trade or release Barnett once the labor dispute is over. He’s scheduled to make $5.5 million this season and $6 million next and that’s a lot of money to tie up in four linebackers, after you factor [intlink id="79" type="category"]Brandon Chillar[/intlink] into the mix.

Barnett, however, hinted he may be willing to renegotiate his deal for the opportunity to stay in Green Bay.

“I’m willing to do a lot of things to be a part of that organization, but it’s hard to get the dialogue because of the lockout,” he said. “We can’t get anything going, or any conversations, and see where each other stands. I’m willing to be a Packer and willing to do a lot of things to do it. But we can’t talk, so we don’t know where we stand.”

Barnett is reportedly 100 percent after wrist surgery and (little known fact alert!) 10 tackles shy of the Packers’ franchise record for tackles, which is held by John Anderson (remember him?!?!).

The concern about keeping Barnett is one we’ve addressed before — he could become a distraction if he isn’t the starter. Barnett seems to understand that’s a concern, as well.

“I think the biggest thing they’re worried about is players complaining about playing. If it comes down to that, let the best players play. I don’t have any confidence issues. I feel like I can line up and compete with any of those guys and win. I think they’re all great players, but I know I know how to play this game. I’ve been playing a long time. I’m ready to do whatever.”

He’s definitely saying all the right things and it’s hard not to feel for the guy, hanging in limbo. Nick Barnett has been a good Packer, but whether he comes back in 2011 is very much up in the air.

Stay tuned.