Rob Reischel previews the quarterbacks and tight ends
On Jan. 12, 2006, Mike McCarthy walked to the podium inside the Lambeau Field auditorium for his first press conference as Green Bay’s head coach.
Twice on that day, McCarthy used a term foreign to Green Bay’s fan base, but one that has been thrown around plenty in the time since. Packer People. “We’re going to start with a program with a foundation that’s going to be built on three key components,” McCarthy said during his opening statement. “No. 1, obtaining Packer People. I think that’s critical, and … I’m very confident that we’re going to get the right kind of people in our Packers organization to achieve those goals.”
With that same press conference nearing its end, McCarthy said: “I just think once again you have to create that stable structure that I talked about earlier, look for the right type of Packer People, and once again, chemistry and character needs to be concentrated on at all times.” Chemistry and character. More often than not, McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson have stuck to that mantra during their 11½ years together. Green Bay’s locker room has been filled with players that have largely represented the organization well both inside and outside of 1265 Lombardi Ave.
In the case of Letroy Guion, though, Thompson and McCarthy have failed miserably to uphold their own promises. Now, after three trouble-filled seasons off the field, and three mediocre years on it, it’s time for Thompson and McCarthy to do the right thing and release Guion.
Guion, a defensive tackle, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Honolulu last week. Guion was pulled over at 4:22 a.m. June 21, failed a breathalyzer test and was later released after posting $500 bail.
For Guion, this is simply his latest dance with the devil during a tumultuous three-year stop in Green Bay.
The 30-year old Guion already faced a four-game suspension to start the 2017 season for a performance-enhancing drug violation. And in 2015, Guion was arrested on marijuana and handgun charges that led to a three-game suspension from the NFL.
Weed. PEDs. Booze. Guns. That’s the whole enchilada. Packer People? Really? Guion was also charged in criminal cases three times as a member of the Minnesota Vikings from 2008-’13. There was a stalking charge issued against Guion in 2013 and two domestic violence incidents.
In two of the criminal cases, the charges were dropped. In a third, Guion paid restitution and avoided additional punishment.
The Packers knew exactly what kind of person they were getting before signing Guion, but that didn’t stop them. At the end of the day, the NFL is about winning games, not some cute slogan like “Packer People.”
While Green Bay’s brass has uncoiled the “Packer People” mantra when it’s most convenient, Thompson and McCarthy have had no trouble looking the other way when necessary.
In September 2006, Thompson signed wideout Koren Robinson, who had been released by two teams after multiple offenses for drunken driving and fleeing police. When Thompson met the media to discuss the signing, journalism legend Cliff Christl asked him, “Ted, what if (Robinson) kills somebody in this state? Driving drunk or speeding away from cops?”
After a three-second pause, the normally pale Thompson was ghost-like and said, “Oh, I can't answer anything like that.”
Thompson never did, either. Instead, Thompson’s gamble on Robinson netted 13 games and 28 receptions over two seasons in Green Bay before he was released in May 2008.
Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly was suspended for three full seasons between 2010-’12 following his arrest for possession of narcotics that led to a six-month jail term. But the Packers stood by Jolly through thick and thin and were “rewarded” with a whopping 21 tackles in 2013.
Then there’s the strange case of troubled tight end Colt Lyerla. Lyerla was accused of assaulting three men in 2012, quit the Oregon Ducks program in 2013, was arrested and plead guilty to unlawful possession of cocaine, and tweeted that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a conspiracy.
Lyerla went undrafted in 2014 and no other team showed a lick of interest. But Thompson was desperate for tight end help after losing Jermichael Finley to a career-ending spinal cord injury and signed Lyerla in May 2014.
Lyerla tore a pair of ligaments in his right knee during Green Bay’s Family Night practice that summer and was waived 24 days later. In the time since, Lyerla was arrested for driving under the influence, possession of heroin and forgery. He escaped from jail just last month and was caught one day later. Ahhhh, Packer People! That brings us back to Guion, a player Green Bay has shown greater loyalty to than virtually any other during the Thompson-McCarthy era.
In October 2015, Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Jour
nal Sentinel did a terrific story exploring Guion’s many transgressions. When McCarthy was asked about the piece, he said, “I thought it was garbage.”
McCarthy added: “The fact of the matter is we take a lot of pride in our program here. We’ve had people that make mistakes. There have been second chances. There’s a thorough process that goes on continuously.”
Are you sure Mike? Because Guion has been granted so many lives in Green Bay, he must be part feline.
It’s one thing to talk about character. It’s another to practice what you preach.
In the case of Guion, McCarthy and Thompson have always turned a blind eye. Those days should finally be over.
Green Bay has arguably its greatest depth on the defensive line since Dom Capers became the defensive coordinator in 2009. The Packers certainly don’t need Guion to succeed on the field, and they clearly don’t need the off-thefield headaches he brings. Packer People? It’s time for Thompson and McCarthy to step up — and show Packer Nation what that truly means.
The Packers stuck by defensive tackle Johnny Jolly despite several drug-related arrests and a three-season NFL suspension.