The Green Bay Packers could be without 75 percent of their starting linebackers when they face the New York Giants on December 4, 2011. Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk are recovering from calf injuries that they suffered against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
Erik Walden's situation is more serious. Walden was reportedly arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence and substantial battery toward his live-in girlfriend. Walden will spend the entire weekend in jail. The Packers have restrained from commenting on this matter until they've gathered more information. I would guess that there's a possibility that Walden will be subjected to a multiple-game suspension from the NFL's personal-conduct policy.
Brandon Underwood and Johnny Jolly are former players who've most recently gotten into legal troubles while playing for the Packers. Neither is with the organization anymore. General manager Ted Thompson isn't the type of person who will condone such behavior. Walden is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
The Packers retained 10 linebackers when they finalized their 53-man roster following the preseason. Jamari Lattimore and Vic So'oto both made the roster as undrafted free agents after impressive training camps. Thompson's decision to keep so many linebackers could work in their favor because of the injuries to Hawk, Bishop, Walden and even the oft-injured Frank Zombo. There's no guarantee that Zombo will be ready for Week 13.
I'm disappointed in these allegations. Along with Lattimore, Walden is an alumnus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I graduated from there in the summer of 2009. Therefore, I'm always happy to see MTSU players make the jump from college football to the pros. Kelly Holcomb is one of most recognizable MTSU players to have made the transition into the NFL.
Now if these allegations are true? The Packers shouldn't re-sign him this offseason. I wouldn't argue with any fan who'd be in favor of cutting him immediately. Abuse toward women and children is completely unacceptable. However, maybe the best idea with these first-time offenders is to try and get them some help instead of just immediately cutting them?
Of course, it's easier to say "Cut him" when it's Walden and not Clay Matthews or any other star player.
Brad Jones and So'oto would probably be the leading candidates to replace Walden if Zombo isn't available. D.J. Smith and Robert Francois were already replacing Hawk and Bishop after their injuries. That leaves Clay Matthews as the only starting linebacker who is probable to start as of this writing.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. His favorite Packer moments include Super Bowl XXXI, XLV, and Al Harris interception return following Matt Hasselbeck's "We're gonna score" comments. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.
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