Let’s wind the clock back to January 14, 2006. That’s the day Mike McCarthy was introduced as the 13th head coach for the Green Bay Packers.
With general manager Ted Thompson by his side, McCarthy made a “mission statement” for where he wanted to take the team. The first part of that mission statement is as follows per Packers.com:
THE FOUNDATION FOR THE NEW DIRECTION OF THE GREEN BAY PACKERS WILL BE CONSTRUCTED WITH THREE KEY COMPONENTS OF OBTAINING “PACKER PEOPLE,” CREATING “STABLE STRUCTURE” AND CONCENTRATING ON “CHARACTER AND CHEMISTRY.
Fast forward to today. McCarthy is still the head coach and Thompson is still the general manager. Both have had highly successful careers in Green Bay including winning Super Bowl XLV.
Does that first chunk of that mission statement still matter in 2017? Well, given that defensive tackle Letroy Guion was recently arrested for the second time in three years one can’t help but wonder if it does.
The Packers signed Guion before the 2014 season to add depth behind B.J. Raji. Guion had just been released by the Vikings following some legal trouble that included a stalking charge and three counts of battery stemming from domestic incidents. Those charges were dropped, save one that resulted in Guion paying restitution.
The warning signs were there, but the Packers proceed to sign Guion anyway. After all, there is nothing wrong with giving someone another chance. However, what the Packers thought would be a second chance for a troubled soul soon turned into a headache for the team
Guion was arrested in 2015 for marijuana possession and at the time he also had a 9mm hand gun as well as $190,000 in cash on him. He later took a plea deal for a $5,000 fine plus court costs.
As a result of this incident, Guion was suspended the first three games of the 2015 season.
At this point, the team’s mindset was probably something like “he’s going through a rough patch. He’s played well for us, so we will help him through it.” Still, given what transpired when Guion was a Viking the Packers should at least have gotten a little more on edge.
The Packers re-signed Guion in February 2016 to a three-year $11.25 million deal. He stayed out of trouble last year, starting 15 games and recording 30 tackles. Maybe the Packers thought his troubles were behind him.
It was not to be.
Soon after the season ended, the bottom seemed to give out on Guion. In March 2017, he was suspended again by the NFL. This time it was for four games and for violating the league’s performance enhancing substance policy.
With this latest break, Packers management had to have been shaking their heads. It was fair at that point to wonder if Green Bay would or should move on.
Then came the news of this past week. Guion was arrested in Hawaii on June 21 for operating while intoxicated. If that wasn’t bad enough (and drunk driving IS bad), Guion according to police records told the arresting officer that “I know I’m drunk,” and that he had been drinking Hennessy all night and he doesn’t drink “any of that weak stuff.”
Guion also pleaded with the officer that it was his birthday and could have someone else drive. Police records also state that Guion smelled of alcohol and marijuana and his BAC was .086. Hawaii’s legal limit is .08.
The Packers have to have seen enough at this point. If McCarthy and Thompson still believe in the “Packer People” mantra laid out all those years ago, Guion needs to go.
It’s clear Guion needs help. All the Packers and anyone else can do is hope he gets his life in order before he kills himself or someone else.
The fact that Guion is still on the roster is puzzling. The Packers under Thompson and McCarthy have a reputation for placing character on equal footing with talent. Sure, they’ve taken chances on some riskier guys like Colt Lyerla but it’s at very low or even no risk to the team.
The Packers apparently love Guion as a player. According to an article by Bob McGinn last September, an anonymous executive said that while Guion is “probably not Ted’s type of guy,” scouts on the Packers “are all fighting for him to come back.”
Even if a player has all the talent in the world, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Guion crossed that line with this most recent arrested. Not only did he exercise poor judgment getting behind the wheel in the first place, but he tried to excuse himself for that behavior because it was his birthday.
Throw that in with his reported “you know who I am” statement during his 2015 arrest and you clearly have a troubled individual.
There is really nothing else to be gained by keeping Guion on the roster. He’s already missing one quarter of the 2017 season and there’s a good chance the league could tack on a few more games for this latest arrest. Given he was suspended three games in 2015, he will likely be looking at four or more for this latest incident.
That means Guion would be sidelined for at least half the 2017 season. From a purely football standpoint, it makes little sense to keep him on the roster. That he’s a repeat offender makes the choice to not cut him borderline madness.
The Packers are smarter than this. Thompson is smarter than this. If the team was waiting for more information to come out following the initial report of his arrest, it’s here and it’s pretty damning.
While we all hope Guion gets his life together off the field, on the field he has no business wearing the uniform of the Green Bay Packers.
Let’s just hope the team sees it the same way; otherwise “Packer People” becomes that much closer to becoming just another empty cliche.