Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

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Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football
Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

What would it take for you to stop following the Packers?

I’m asking because of the hullabaloo over the Packers signing troubled Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla and the “risk” that people think comes with signing a guy like him. Really, what risk is there?

Let’s say Lyerla gets arrested for cocaine again. The Packers can just cut him and move on. Let’s say he tweets something terrible again. The Packers can just cut him and move on. Let’s say, God forbid, he does something on the same level as Aaron Hernandez. Once again, the Packers can just cut him and move on.

(By the way, it’s unfair to lump Lyerla in with Hernandez, but people are doing it, anyway. A drug arrest and an offensive tweet don’t mean you are going to murder someone in the near future.)

I suppose you could argue there is risk if Lyerla does, in fact, make the team, then does something to get cut during the season and forces the Packers to scramble to fill a roster spot. But even then, teams have to fill vacant rosters spots all the time during the season.

Is Lyerla a public relations risk? Are people mostly worried about the Packers’ image taking a hit and the term “Packer people” becoming more and more a thing of the past (if it ever existed in the first place)?

Obviously, no team wants to deal with its players getting arrested or making offensive remarks on social media, but is anything a public relations risk to the NFL these days? Does the phrase “public relations risk” even exist in the Packers — a team who has no trouble selling “stock” in the franchise and has a season-ticket waiting list filled up for what seems like forever — vocabulary?

The New England Patriots had one of their players (allegedly) commit multiple murders. I didn’t notice fewer people at Gillette Stadium last season or large quantities of New England residents renouncing their Patriots fanhood. Ray Rice (allegedly) knocked out his then-fiance in an elevator and just gave a really weird news conference about it, but I doubt people in Baltimore will stop supporting the Ravens or cite the incident as a reason to stop filling the NFL’s coffers with cash.

The Packers and the franchise’s most popular player went through a bitter divorce in 2008. The bleachers at Lambeau Field were still packed and the team today is more popular and profitable as it ever was.

Unless you think the Packers follow, or should follow, some pretend moral code when it comes to the players they bring in, what’s the risk in giving a guy like Lyerla a shot? Does signing a guy like Lyerla make you question your Packers fandom? Are you now one step closer to not following the Packers because they gave this kid a shot after he did and tweeted some very dumb things?

I doubt it. Besides an extended run of futility on the field, it’s hard to envision anything significantly dampening enthusiasm for the Packers in the foreseeable future.

The only way I would stop following the Packers is if I lost interest in football, and that doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon. I used to be a huge baseball fan, but my interest has waned recently because baseball has gotten really boring, even more boring that it always has been. MLB seems to be intentionally pushing away fans by not addressing easily fixable pace of play issues and it’s even driving once die-hard fans like me away from the sport.

Sure, I’d like every Packers player to be an upstanding citizen and a beacon of the community, but that’s not realistic. I respect your point of view (even though it’s pie in the sky) if you feel that the Packers should simply stay away from players like Lyerla, whose red flags are completely out in the open. I get it. We all want to root for people with a track record of doing the right thing and staying out of trouble.

But if  you’re against the Lyerla signing because of the “risk” involved, you’re way off base. There is little, if any, risk.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • We’ve heard plenty about Lyerla’s off-field issues. What are the Packers getting on the filed with the tight end? Zach Kruse focuses just on the football aspect of Lyerla, and it kind of gets you fired up about his potential.
  • This week’s Cheesehead Radio featuring Dan Shonka providing a Packers draft review is an absolute must-listen.
  • Ross at Packerstalk.com wonders if Clay Matthews could play more snaps at inside linebacker. I’ve always wondered the same thing. Matthews is definitely fast enough and explosive enough to play the position, I think. But if he moves inside beyond just the occasional snap, who’s going to rush from the outside? That’s putting a lot of faith in players like Nick Perry, Andy Mulumba, Carl Bradford or an undrafted free agent to come through.
  • ALLGBP.com’s Thomas Hobbes breaks down some numbers for Packers kick and punt returners. I thought Micah Hyde was too slow to be an effective returner last season, but he did better than I thought he would. I’m anxious to see Jared Abbrederis in this role, although I worry he could break in half after one too many hits.
  • Brandon Marshall signed a new contract (on “The View,” for crying out loud) and Jason at Acme Packing Company wonders if the 3 year, $30 million deal sets the market for Jody Nelson, who will turn 29 on May 31 and hits the open market after this season. If the Packers can get Nelson for 3 years and $30 million, they need to get that deal done now. I’m guessing after accepting a below-market deal last time, Nelson is probably looking for something in the five-year range.
  • Packers president Mark Murphy said this week that ideally the Packers would like to extend Ted Thompson’s contract before Mike McCarthy’s, since all football decisions are made by Thompson. In a perfect world, that’s how I would do it too. But if the Packers think highly of McCarthy and view him as the coach they want for the forseeable future (and it appears that they do), they shouldn’t risk losing McCarthy if Thompson doesn’t sign an extension in a timely fashion.
  • David at LombardiAve.com makes season predictions for the Packers sophomores in 2014.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • I am not in favor of slavery reparations, but after reading this piece from Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic…wow. Makes you think…
  • Men are paying up to $1,000 for a wingman to help them meet women. If any of you men out there would like to hire me as a wingman, I’d do it for a case of Spotted Cow.
  • If hiring a wingman for $1,000 isn’t working, try Twitter.
  • David Zurawik absolutely nails it on the Ray Rice fiasco.
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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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  • Slim11

    I thought Dezman Moses wasn’t on the team any more.

  • Adam Czech

    Whoops. I was thinking of Mulumba.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      LOL. This year’s flavor of the spring at undrafted OLB seems to be Hubbard, at least so far.

  • Pete Kliman

    Excellent info as usual. I’m glad the Pack is giving Colt a chance, it makes me prouder to be a fan. We’re are not infallible and all deserve a chance to redeem ourselves.There are many more examples of players making good use of their chance than the Hernandez’s of the world.

    • Two Bears, One Cup

      Regarding Lyerla and my Packers fandom: Lyerla hurt himself, not someone else. That’s why I have no problem with him. I wanted Underwood and Walden cut after their incidents, and I wanted no part of Mike Vick. And if you’re hurt by Lyerla’s stupid comment, I suggest staying away from cable news and politicians. . . .

      • Moj0

        TBOC you bring up something I’ve hit on in the past. That is, I have much less tolerance for someone who hurts someone else than himself. Most of Lyerla’s actions have been of the self-destructive variety. By far the worst was the Sandy Hook comments. There you could make a case he hurt others.

        But even so, he’s been hardest on himself.

  • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

    Excellent read Adam and I couldn’t agree more. There is NO risk for the Packers signing of Lyerla. The kid deserves a second chance. It doesn’t excuse what he said or did, but it certainly shouldn’t keep him from playing football. The scouts or GM’s claiming they wouldn’t touch Colt with a 10 foot pole, are ticked off they didn’t get him before TT and the Packers.
    I’d be willing to bet 99.9 % of us on this site have did or said something they regret. Hopefully nothing on the level of Colt’s comments, but something you’re not proud of, I know I have.
    My hope for Colt Lycela is that not only does he succeed on the football field, but at life.

    • Ralph

      Perhaps not a risk, but there is an opportunity cost associated with signing Lyerla. He takes up a roster spot that could be given to another with much less risk of getting cut for non-football reasons.

      • Archie

        TOO INTELLIGENT A COMMENT FOR THIS AUDIENCE.

  • Al Borland’s Beard

    Ray Rice talking about how failure is “getting knocked down, but not getting up” shows he has about as much self-awareness as he does empathy.

    • Oppy

      Everyone is all over that quote, but completely missed the worst one:

      When pausing briefly to go over his prepared notes, he said,

      “Sorry. I just want to hit on everything.”

      I am not making this up.
      Horrible.

      • marpag

        Unfortunate analogies and poor choice of vocabulary notwithstanding, I think we all know perfectly well what he meant though, right? Let’s not read into his words something that we all know he wasn’t intending to say.

        Yes Ray Rice did a very, very bad thing. But he’s not “extra guilty” just because used some unfortunate expressions in a press conference.

        • Oppy

          The person who is extra guilty is whoever prepped him for his conference or didn’t dissuade him from giving it in the first place.

          It was a PR nightmare, right down to having his wife sitting two feet to his right, who looked like she wanted nothing to do with being there at all.

  • TheMarathonMan

    I don’t think Lyerla would make it in any other system other than the Packers’. The family nature of the organization and the protection and resources it offers is exactly what he needs. Johnny Jolly has managed to turn his life around within this system, and what Jolly was into was arguably a lot worse than what Lyerla has done.

    We need to quit beating up this young kid and the organization for signing him, and start offering the resources and family he needs to turn his life around, if he hasn’t started already by himself.

  • the real russ letlow

    I’m OK with the Lyerla signing. Giving the guy a second chance is OK with me. He’s still young and dumb. We’ve all been there, but his dumb was a good bit dumber than most of us. However, he did not get sent to prison for a long stretch, so he gets another shot at fixing his life. What’s wrong with that? The Packers will keep him on a short leash, and if the shenanigans continue, so long. And if TT says they looked into his situation, then I’m sure the Packers looked pretty hard before signing the guy.

  • Tarynfor12

    I hope his wife was paid enough for taking the ‘brunt’ of this more than once.

    Question:”Ray,who wrote this apology for you?”

    Ray Rice:”My wife,she said it would be more believable since she had first hand knowledge of what happened and knew how to make it right!”

  • ted, of bill and ted

    God I love spotted cow

    • BradHTX

      It’s the GOOD Cow.

  • Rossoneri83

    I AM VERY HAPPY TO SEE THE PACKERS ARE FINALLY taking a few risks on players. As the article noted, these are very low risk moves and present chances for huge upside with easy exit options.

    Perhaps Ted Thompson has noticed the Patriots, 49ers and Seahawks take on players with checkered pasts like WR Randy Moss, LB Bruce Irvin, etc. and force them to fit into the system with it paying off.

    The Packers can make it work with Lyerla and Hubbard. Shoot, maybe a few years from now we’ll be talking about the feared TE combo of Lyerla and Richard Rodgers…you never know. I’m pullin’ for these young guys, not just as football players, but as men to straighten their lives out.

    • Oppy

      Maybe you missed Charles Woodson, Koren Robinson, Johnny Jolly, to name a few.

  • Cow42

    F*ck this pr*ck.

    What he said was unforgivable.
    This has nothing to do with risk… it’s about being offensive… it’s about decency.

    Sure, he can play football… but I don’t have to be OK with him doing so for my favorite team.

    • BradHTX

      I asked you this question on CHTV and got no answer. I’ll ask it again here in case you simply missed it.

      Lyerla expressed support for the idea that the government may have arranged the Sandy Hook shooting to gin up support for gun control laws. Offensive to the parents? Sure. And for that, you don’t want him playing for the Packers (your prerogative). Would you have felt the same way about Reggie White, in light of his outspokenness against homosexuality, which were certainly equally offensive to gay people?

      And I ask the question seriously, not to “come at you,” Cow. I want to know if the same standard applies to a figure universally beloved by Packer fans as to an immature mouthy drug user.

      • Cow42

        Difficult question.

        I have kids.
        I’m not a homosexual.

        For these reasons I doubt that my emotional attachment to the two statements would be the same.

        If I were a homosexual, Reggie’s comments would make me shake my head.

        If I were the father of a murdered 1st grader, Colts comments would make me want to load up my hunting rifle.

        In my opinion this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Insulting a person’s sexuality, though insensitive, doesn’t seem to be on par with spitting on the grave of a child.

        But in the end – I would probably be against bringing a vocal “gay-basher” on to the team.

  • WKUPackFan

    Good question Brad. I was so hoping Cow wouldn’t bring crass comments about Lyerla here from CHTV. Oh well, it gives me a chance to ask a question also.

    Cow, where does this irrational outrage at Lyerla’s comments come from? Are you related to one of the victims or families? Do you have close friends that are related? If not, then Lyerla’s comments do not personally effect you and your outrage as expressed is either seriously disturbing or fake.

    You’ve never met Colt Lyerla. You have no idea whether he’s a prick, turd, or any other terms you’ve used to describe him.

    • Cow42

      Really?

      So an individual should only feel strongly about a subject or person’s actions if they are directly attached to the situation?

      Again – I am astonished by the number of Packer fans who are in “defense-mode” with this guy.

      If you entered a room… and on one side of the room stood Colt Lyerla with his quotes written on the wall behind him… and on the other side of the room stood the parent of a murdered 7 year old with a picture of his deceased child posted on the wall behind him… you guys are telling me that you would join Colt on his side of the room? Just because he runs a 4.6 and the Packers need a TE?

      That’s sick.

      • BradHTX

        No, you’re absolutely correct, Cow — you don’t need to be personally attached to a situation to have strong feelings about it. I agree, and I appreciate your honest answer above relating to my Reggie White comparison. I respect that you acknowledge that your opinion is somewhat subjective, even though I generally disagree with your feelings about Lyerla.

        And you’re right, of course my example isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but let’s face it: trying to find a comparable situation involving a different Packer player is difficult. A better example than Reggie would be a player who expressed support for Michael Moore and 9/11 “truthers.”

        Unlike WKU above, I don’t consider your outrage at Lyerla’s comments (and I admit to never having actually read the comments themselves, only a description of them) to be disturbing or fake if you weren’t related to the victims. But I do question why you consider suggesting that the government might have set up the shooting to be “spitting on the grave of a child”? I realize I’m treading on sensitive ground here, but if the shooter was a sick nut as we all assume, the kids were victims of a senseless tragedy. If it was a conspiracy (and I don’t believe it was) then they are martyrs to a different kind of sick nut, and victims of an even greater tragedy. I’m not sure I see how that dishonors their memory, any more than the “truthers” disrespect the memory of the victims of 9/11. In general, I tend to shake my head at conspiracy theorists and not get too worked up about their views. Of course, I’ve never lost a child or other loved one to any kind of tragedy at all.

        My larger point about your feelings about the Packers and Lyerla is that in general, I have a problem with the idea that a person’s thoughts, beliefs or opinions, no matter how unpopular or absurd, should affect his participation in society. The Donald Sterling situation, for example, in which his racist views, expressed in a private conversation, result in his being stripped of his right of ownership of the Clippers. We can agree to disagree, but I simply don’t see how a year-old tweet by an immature 21-year-old kid, no matter how stupid or ridiculous or even offensive, should disqualify him from playing for the Packers when he has the talent to be a potential playmaker, which as you frequently say, are sorely lacking on their roster.

        • Cow42

          “I have a problem with the idea that a person’s thoughts, beliefs or opinions, no matter how unpopular or absurd, should affect his participation in society.”

          I think this is where you may have misinterpreted me.

          I’m not saying he shouldn’t be allowed to play in the NFL… or do whatever he wants, for that matter… I just would rather he not do it on the Packers.

          Dude can go ahead and get married if he wants – I just wouldn’t want him marrying my sister.

          • BradHTX

            Nope, I haven’t misinterpreted you at all. I know that there is a huge difference between your saying that you wish the Packers hadn’t signed him, and the NFL for some reason saying he was ineligible. But I was drawing a comparison between your feelings about him because of his statements, and a larger societal trend that I think is very unhealthy.

            The question moving forward is, if Lyerla keeps his nose clean, is a model citizen, and turns out to be a good player, will you then acknowledge that he has moved past his, shall we say, youthful indiscretions (to put it mildly) and signing him was a good move? Or does one stupid and offensive public statement forever brand him as a jerk in your mind?

            “Dude can go ahead and get married if he wants – I just wouldn’t want him marrying my sister.”

            Nice! LOL

      • marpag

        Um…. what??

        Dude, try logic. We’re not asking if Lyerla would be your first choice to hang out with at a dinner party. We’re talking about signing him to a professional football contract.

        But as long as we’re talking about people we don’t like, I don’t like people who say stuff like “F#ck this pr*ck” about people they don’t know and never met, or who feel that perfectly legal actions are nevertheless “unforgivable”, or who suggest that maybe the proper way to manage anger is by “loading up the hunting rifle.”

        Frankly, you and Colt Lyerla seem to be a lot alike.

        • Cow42

          So you’re judging a person (me)you’ve never met based on a few posts made on a Packer blog.

          Got it.

          • marpag

            Yeah, exactly. Sucks, doesn’t it? How is it OK for you, but not for me?

          • Moj0

            What Cow and a number of other posters have failed to distinguish is what did Lyerla actually believed happened versus what really happened at Sandy Hook.

            If Lyerla truly believed SH was a hoax perpetrated by the government then what he said wasn’t meant to be insensitive. He may have thought he was doing a service by speaking out. As jaded as that sounds, he might have thought he was bringing to light information few of us considered. It might speak more to him being ignorant or delusional than pernicious.

            As for Reggie White, he was a very religious man. Whether you believe in what he does isn’t the point. If he truly believes what he was taught, as the “Word of God”, he must follow his teachings. If you’re a true believer like Reggie was you can not pick-and-chose what issues you will adhere to. No cafeteria lines. If so, then what’s the point?

            • Oppy

              I didn’t know that part of being a devout christian was telling a large audience that Asians can naturally make a television fit in a wristwatch, that whites are good with money, and blacks are great athletes.

              Is that old testament? I don’t know. Wish I could ask Reggie!
              ;)

  • marpag

    I have no concern whatever about Lyerla’s Sandy Hook comments – zero – even if they were painfully stupid. It’s irrelevant. There is no law against being stupid.

    I AM concerned if he does not play hard, practice well, or respond to coaching. And I am concerned that cocaine is not exactly a “starter drug.” Beer is for beginners. Pot is something college kids experiment with. Cocaine? Um, not so much…

    If he can keep clean and produce on the field, I’m OK with it. We’ll see. But as everyone has already said, the Packers don’t have much to lose by giving him a shot.

  • john galt iii

    Lyerla strikes me as someone who needs guidance in life. Father figure in that regard, as he never had one around as a young boy according to reports.

    Do the Packers have someone in their organization who can listen to and give help to their players? The position coaches could do this, but they have a lot going on with their regular duties. Maybe they have a consulting psychologist, personal coach type who helps out.

    Why do I ask this? Because the players are the most valuable asset and all 53 of them may not be as “grounded” as let’s say Aaron Rodgers. What’s the point of signing someone to a $10 million contract and then have them blow up mentally.

    Spending $5,000 a month on someone to whom the players can confide in and get help from seems like money well spent.

    Can’t see anyone like that here:

    http://www.packers.com/team/front-office.html

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      Actually it is the job description of this person:

      Rob Davis, Director of Player Development

      http://www.packers.com/team/staff/rob-davis/ef1e1ad0-97ff-462f-b98d-7c9180ef0933

      “Davis also oversees the Packers’ wide range of programs designed to meet the needs of players and their families in today’s NFL. The department provides a framework of assistance within which players and their immediate family members can address the pressures created by daily life and complicated by the demands of playing professional football.”

      Davis played for 12 years in the NFL and demanded enough respect from his peers to be chosen the team’s NFLPA rep.

      The post used to be held by Edgar Bennett, before he decided to go into coaching, and at that time was something of a pioneer program for the NFL.

      Nowadays there is a lot more support from the league for positions like this.

      I’ve suggested in other conversations that it might be a good idea to bring Johnny Jolly, or another respected ex-player, as an assistant to Davis.

  • Archie

    If Lyerla does something else stupid, it will reflect badly on the Packers. I don’t see where he has done anything to atone for his past behaviors (and deserve another chance). Therefore, I think TT signed this guy because he runs a 4.6 40 and we need a TE. That’s piss-poor in my book. Where’s the evidence or signs that this guy is ready to turn over a new leaf? Few people make significant turns from bad to not bad in their early 20s. They almost always need more lumps and earth-to-Colt events before they wise up, if they ever do. He has still got 20 years of growing up to do and at best, it will take him at least the next 10 years to do so. But maybe I’m wrong. But I wouldn’t bet the house on it. Were I packers GM I would not have brought him in regardless of his potential if I hadn’t seen tangible evidence this guy was doing everything he could to turn his life around.

    As to Reggie, when you repeat stuff you read/hear rather than have it come from your own being, you are looking for trouble. Homophopes feel justified in spitting on the dignity of homosexuals because of their sexual orientation. As society is finally grasping, homosexuality is not a choice. You can’t pray the gay away and you can’t beat it away. Enough of all that and back to football.

    • BradHTX

      My guess, Archie, is that if TT was not confident that Lyerla had in fact gotten past his troubles — based on a great deal more information about him than you probably have, including actual in-person interviews — he would not have signed him even to the no-risk structured deal he did.

      While you are right that many young men don’t mature until well past their early 20s, some do in fact get that wake-up call and listen to it. If he has the potential to be a 1st round calibre playmaker, which we all agree the Packers can never have too many of, and he can be had for next to nothing, I say it’s worth the chance.