The NFL plans to interview Clay Mathews, Julius Peppers, and free agent Mike Neal regarding drug-related accusations made in an Al-Jazeera report. Dubious or not, such stories should no longer shock when it comes to the Green Bay Packers.
In just the last year and a half, the NFL has suspended five Packers for drug-related offenses, if we count cornerback Jarrett Bush, by then a free agent. Those suspensions include both PED and substance abuse offenses.
The culprits suspended in 2015 — defensive lineman Letroy Guion (weed), Datone Jones (weed), and Bush (PEDs).
So far this year, Demetri Goodson and Mike Pennel will each miss four games. Goodson’s suspension is for PEDs, while Pennel’s comes under the league’s substance abuse policy.
Going back further, in 2010, defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was suspended, imprisoned, and missed three seasons for illicit drug use and distribution. Neal missed four games for PEDs in 2012.
You might also recall how the team courted Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla despite his struggles with cocaine. Lyerla is presently on his second Arena League team in the past eight months.
The league lists 40 substance abuse offenses in 2012, 37 in 2013, 41 in 2014, 54 in 2015 and 16 so far this year. Eighteen of these involve players listed as free agents, indicating many teams cut ties before suspensions became official.
The Packers (if we count Bush) have had five players suspended since the start of 2015. They trail only the Dallas Cowboys (7) and Chicago Bears (6) in that category. If we throw out Bush, they also trail the New York Jets (5).
Still, the point is, they’re near the top of the league in suspensions over the past year and half and they’re all drug-related.
Three teams have had a clean slate during the short span — Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
This isn’t exactly the image the Packers want to or claim to project. Plus, the missed games disrupt and weaken the team.
Maybe it’s time for the Packers to send a strong message to the troops.