Rob Reis­chel pre­views the quar­ter­backs and tight ends

Packer Plus - - FRONT PAGE - ROB REIS­CHEL Send email to ro­breis­chel@gmail.com Read more on Guion’s ar­rest in Hawaii on Page 5.

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.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Pack­ers stuck by de­fen­sive tackle Johnny Jolly de­spite sev­eral drug-re­lated ar­rests and a three-sea­son NFL sus­pen­sion.

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