We Now Know Why 5th Round Pick Cole Madison Was MIA

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Cole Madison Drilling

Cole Madison (61) drills with tackle Kyle Meadows (72) during Green Bay Packers Organized Team Activities at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Matthews/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Michael Cohen with The Athletic quotes sources in regard to Cole Madison’s strange lack of presence on the team in 2018 after being the fifth-round draft pick. Until now, all we knew was from a press conference in August in which Gutekunst said, ‘He’s still dealing with a personal matter’.

Packers offensive lineman Cole Madison has been away from the team since the conclusion of the offseason program in June. His absence has been shrouded in mystery, and now a return to football seems uncertain.

The Athletic Wisconsin has learned that Madison’s absence can be linked to emotional distress brought on by the suicide of a close friend and former teammate. Four sources said Madison has been deeply affected by the tragic death of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who took his own life on Jan. 16, 2018, two weeks after playing in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl.

The whole situation raises the lingering issue of brain damage caused by excessive hits and aggressive contact that the sport is known for. The death of his friend, Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski, was due to Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Caused by repeated head injuries, this condition is notorious for getting continuously worse with time.

This was a fate that Hilinski could not face and now Michael Cohen is contemplating his own health and future. According to an interview with Hilinski’s parents on NBC News after his death, ‘The medical examiner said he had the brain of a 65-year-old, which is really hard to take’. You can learn more about Hilinski’s condition from his parents in this lengthy documentary with Sports Illustrated.

Number 138th overall pick Madison was present for off-season workout(pictured above in May 2018) but did not arrive for training camp. Of course, there is always the possibility that Madison will choose not to return. I’m sure the team will respect his decision either way.

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44 Comments on "We Now Know Why 5th Round Pick Cole Madison Was MIA"

  1. Kato

    Yikes. So, this does hit me on a number of levels personally. A couple close friends of my family have committed suicide. One of them when I was younger. Our families always hung out, and he had a daughter close to my age.

    Personally, i have had some mental issues myself. Concussions from football are considered a possible cause. I can feel where Cole Madison is coming from. This is where doing in depth interviews with players is important. They are supposed to be getting an idea of the person’s mental makeup and if they are passionate about the game, and for lack of better term, not a dumbass. If they did their due process here, I feel like they should have picked up on this in an interview with him. This happened before the combine and draft. This is 100% on the packers, not Cole Madison

  2. Cheese

    Well it doesn’t sound like this kid is coming back. He’s scared about getting CTE himself. To each their own. So much for that draft pick. Are the Packers able to get a compensatory pick out of this? Didn’t Madison take some money already and then decide to disappear? Maybe OTA’s was too much for him.

    • PF4L

      I had that thought back last summer, i figured maybe during camp he felt he was in over his head. Either way you view it, they can kiss a draft pick and a briefcase packed full of 100 bills goodbye.

      I wonder how they are doing when they said they were going to petition the NFL to get back all that cash paid to M. Bennett. I wonder how that worked out for them. Actually…i know how it worked out for them, Pretty much the same as their 5th round pick last year. Keep up the good work Russ.I see a promotion to GM in your future (smfh).

      Yea….this team is going places.

      • PF4L

        Lets say……he’s scared to play because of CTE.

        Ok, cool, go get a safer job.

        Now pay back the $324,000. Does he think he’s entitled to it because he got…..i don’t know, drafted?

        • Ferris

          They would need to take an IOU. Maybe he can mow grass for the team, some type of service but if anyone thinks he still has ALL that money they are dreaming. Russ Ball with send him to collection…

      • Howard

        Speaking of Russ, the Packers in 2018 had a dead cap salary hit of almost 15 million. 8.7 million of that 15 million was in signing bonus monies. 4.2 million of the 8.7 million in signing bonus dead cap hits was for M Bennett.

        • PF4L

          Yea, i knew Bennett had dead cap money last season, but i figured i was teed up enough…lol. Certain subjects just light me up.

          Unfortunately, this team provides me way too many. Just a clown show, there isn’t many other ways to describe it.

  3. PF4L

    It’s easy to report a report, it’s tougher to have an opinion.

    “Until now all we knew was he was dealing with a personal matter (really dude, that’s all we knew?.”We now know why………..” This information wasn’t available 7 months ago?

    Is this breaking news somehow?

    You can’t play? You worried about CTE? You in therapy?

    We don’t know, because no one has told us. What this article tells us, is something we already knew. Cohen is pretending this is breaking news? Hack.

    You can’t play ball….but you can negotiate a contract and cash a check for $324,000? You can go through the draft process, your able to attend mini camp and OTA’s?

    Something isn’t right. You don’t get $324 grand for attending a couple of non padded practices.

    I’m going to out on a limb and say the Packers never see Cole Madison, or OUR $324,000 dollars ever again. Yes, it’s our money, where do you think it comes from? The Packers have got to be one of the most fiscally irresponsible NFL teams in franchise history.

    The difference between the Packers and most people, is most people know when they’ve been robbed,

    I got no problem with mental illness and people who suffer from it, get the help you need, Godspeed.

    But don’t take the money and bounce.

    In other News:…..The Browns sign Kareem Hunt. Dorsey signs the guy who he originally drafted.

    • Empacador

      $324,000 is peanuts to what they are paying Ted. And McCarthy. Asking Madison to pay back that $324 grand is ok if those 2 are required to pay back what they are being paid.

      • Empacador

        I don’t really understand why you are pissed about Cole Madison specifically other than with him being drafted PF4L. Look at all the money they pay out in signing bonuses to bottom tier guys that never amount to anything. Look at the money they waste to maintain practice squad players so they don’t jump ship and go elsewhere but never actually amount to anything productive as a player.

        I agree they are pissing away money, and that is fiscally irresponsible. We don’t know whether they asked the man to repay whatever they paid him once he had a change of heart about his desire to play football anymore. Due to his personal circumstances, I don’t think this is any worse than Chris Borland playing 1 year and deciding to retire. Madison didn’t disrupt the Packer roster like Borland did. 49ers thinking they have a position settled only to have Borland pull the rug out from under them. Or JaMarcus Russell stealing from the Raiders by literally not giving a damn.

        If we wanna talk about salary reform, and needlessly pissing money away, I’m with you. I just don’t completely understand intense anger at a young guy who appears to have made a decision to not wanna play football anymore. Not arguing the thief aspect with you. Marty B, Tony Mandarich, Joe Johnson, B.J. Raji, Eddie Lacy are just a few examples deserving way more hate. More than some young dude who recently figured out how to play beer pong. Like Howard said below, the guy was a suspect draft pick to begin with, and would fit right in with the last several Packers drafts as it is. Aside from the $324,000, why so angry about HIM specifically? If he shows up and sucks as bad at the rest of their line prospects, would it make that $324,000 any less gone and wasted? Spriggs should be hoping they don’t ask him for a refund.

        • PF4L

          Borland, Russell, Mandarich, Johnson, Raji, Lacy, and Spriggs all showed up for work. All the scenario’s you laid out, are all players who showed up for work.

          Yes Empac….i have a problem, with a guy who is seemingly mentally ok to go through the rigors of an NFL combine, a Pro Day, a mini camp, OTA’s, negotiates a contract, deposits his signing bonus, then right before training camp informs the Packers he won’t be showing up, or he has his agent do it. And we don’t hear boo from him again. I’m guessing the Packers haven’t either. Yea….i view that as a problem. As much on the Packers as on him.

          EMPAC…..If you were getting your house remodeled and the contract you signed was for $80,000 and you gave him $40,000 up front TO DO THE JOB. Then right before he’s about to start, he calls you and tells you that he really doesn’t feel like he’s up to the job right now, but he “might” be in a year or two, do you want your 40 grand back or do you just let him keep it hoping he might come back and do the job some day?

          When someone can tell me why he should keep that money and have no one call him out on it, i’m all ears my friend.

          Until then, that man has no honor.

          • PF4L

            On March 16, 2015, Borland announced his retirement from the NFL citing concern of head trauma.[27] He received a $617,436 signing bonus when he inked a four-year rookie deal with the 49ers coming out of college but he would be returning approximately three-quarters of this bonus to the team, or about $463,077

  4. Howard

    Madison was below average in play strength and had a bad anchor when drafted. Madison has more than likely deteriorated substantially, physically, as a football player. No way will Madison come back physically to play NFL football.

    It makes one wonder why no pictures or articles have ever been seen even by local or his schools press regarding how Madison is doing physically and mentally. It is almost like there is a blackout about Cole Madison.

    There is something wrong about this whole story. I’m sorry but there is more about this whole affair between Madison and Hilinski than meets the eye. Maybe someday the whole story will be addressed, or maybe it is none of our business except for the Packer football side of the story.

    • PF4L

      The dudes keeping a low profile, most thieves do.

      See, i think it’s our business because business decisions are made based on financial health. Piss away 324K here, piss away 58 million there, 40 million over there, 13 mill on that guy, 8 mill on that guy. It’s only money, no one has to be accountable.

      It’s also our business because it’s a publicly owned team. The very first piece of public stock sold, made it our business.

      This team is evolving into the worst franchise in the league.

      Sorry.

      • R.Duke

        Here’s a thought. What if he snapped a knee or shoulder during OTAs and was out of football for good as a result of the injury? Should he pay back the cash? Its a Game of Risk these guys take every time they get on the Field. Its not Maddon.

        • PF4L

          Here’s a thought……if he snapped a knee or shoulder (at work) we would have heard about it then and there wouldn’t be any gray area. Then no, he wouldn’t have to pay the money back, That was a seriously stupid question.

          Almost as stupid as that injury analogy is, to his current situation. So it’s a game of risk, so as long as he comes to a non contact camp, the money is his? That’s worth $324,000? Sign me up bitch!!

          Thanks for trying though. MaddOn

          This subject has riled me up since it went down.

          Bring it.

        • Kato

          He didn’t hurt himself during training camp. It was never reported. If that was the case, the team would have put him on IR, not the did not report list

      • PF4L

        I hope some reporter has a set and ask Murphy about the money.
        i’d love to hear that.

        Maybe the Packers feel like he deserves the money….if so, i’m all ears Mark.

        Maybe Murphy would tell us, that he could still come into camp in 2020…lol……Then he could also tell us about the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy.

        This team is one big fucking joke.

  5. PF4L

    Just to be clear….

    If he didn’t keep the money, i wouldn’t say one word, or give it a thought in my head, as i would deem it not my business.

    To me, it’s theft….and yes, i give equal blame to the clown show. If the Packers don’t want that cash, fine, do something good with it. Give it to charity, bring in a 200 kids from Make a Wish Foundation with their families for a game. Help the disabled elderly get food delivered to them.

    Do something righteous with it.

    If anyone can tell me of another instance like this, where the draft pick never even made it to training camp, and kept his money, i’ll stand down.

    Until then…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbaoW_BRmSQ

  6. Kato

    I don’t think there is anything more to this personally. The timeline makes sense. He probably had little time to process a close friend killing himself, he was in the process of training to get himself ready for the draft. Then after minicamp he has like 6 weeks off and during that time period, he hears that his good friend that killed himself had CTE and had the brain of a 65 year old…. pretty fucking easy to see why. For instance, a good friend of mine had a friend of his go to AA with a severe addiction to alcohol, among other things. It affected him to the point where he barely drinks anymore. Imagine someone dying.

    • PF4L

      Fine….Give the Packers the money back, if your able to come to work, the check will be waiting for you.

      If you decide CTE is too much of a risk, then move on, But you sure as fuck didn’t earn $324,000.00

      • Stiggy

        If u think the packers would ever try to recoup 325 grand for “mental health” in PC hostage america you are crazy.

        I agree he should pay the money back… he got paid and never showed up to a job. I feel sorry for the kid on a personal level… but believe me they would go after the money if they didnt have to pay more than 325 grand in pr to make the mess go away.

        Welcome to america 2019. This is an indictment more on society than the packers.

        • PF4L

          You feel sorry for him? What is he suffering from? Do you know he’s suffering? Is he just scared from the effects of CTE? Any information you have born of fact would be enlightening.

          For all i know he’s splitting 8’s and doubling down and telling the waitress to keep em coming after picking up his new Silverado.

          I’m not going to assume he’s balled up in the corner of his parents bedroom in a fetal position weeping uncontrollably.

          • Stiggy

            I’m going by what’s printed… dudes apparently struggling after his buddy blew his brains all over the wall…. I can be empathetic towards that making him feel terrible.

            And it wouldn’t surprise me If he was drinking/doing drugs.. gambling…whatever vice of choice…people make poor choices when they arent right.

            I do however agree he should have given the money back.

            But for someone who usually does a good job of seeing the big picture you’re missing it with this one.

            To reiterate… the pr isnt worth the packers seeking their 325k… is it theft? Absolutely.. but it’s still peanuts.. especially compared to the cost of fighting CNN and 20/20 interviews of Cole Madison crying to the world about how the NFL doesnt care about mental health..(even if hes fine).. I thought the millennial was a meme.. until I started working with them…

            Secondly the nfl sure as hell doesnt want the cte story of the QB offing himself promoted via the packers taking poor mental health victim Coles money.

            This is the same media that will attack you If you dont play make believe and call a Male who genital mutilates themself a woman… and is outraged when you wont pay for it… mental health right?

            There will be more of this as we move forward.

          • Kato

            ^^^^ this. He gets it. So what if the packers recoup like 250k or whatever? PF4L, you do, almost to a fault seen the big picture more than anyone. He probably should give the money back. But shit like what he went through, it can fuck you up. If a friend of mine took his life, it would fuck me up too.

          • PF4L

            Here’s the big picture…..the Cole Madison drama is cloaked in secrecy, He won’t talk, his agent won’t talk. If he’s having trouble dealing with his friend emotionally, or….he’s contemplating the risk of CTE. Neither one of those scenario’s are cause for embarrassment that you would need to be ashamed of, or go into hiding.

            But here’s the problem, when you take the cash, and no one see’s or hears from you, that’s a bad look. It’s been over a year since his buddy passed. Has he gotten help? Has he had enough time to decide if football is his thing? We don’t know….because no one is showing their face or talking.

            I don’t GAF about being PC, i don’t care what’s a bad look for the Packers. How about…….the Packers call his agent and say dude….we’re running a business here and were preparing for the draft and trying to plan out our strategy and the O line needs to be addressed. What does your boy want to do?.How about the Packers…..do their job?

            Can you see anything close to this drama happening with the Patriots? No, because the Patriots are winners who know how to handle situations. This guy is getting more time to decide what he wants to do than they gave Brett Favre.

            That is…the big picture.

          • Cheese

            Since when is it the Packers fault Cole’s friend killed himself? Was he ever on a Packers roster? Did Charles Martin ever slam his head into the ground? Never, no, and no.

            Since when is it the Packers responsibility to fund Cole Madisons little journey to “find himself” and get absolutely nothing in return? They’ve already given him a year off of work. Who the fuck says that CNN is going to get involved if the Packers ask for their money? If some snowflake wants to pee their pants over this then piss away.

            Since when is bending over and taking it up the ass considered “getting it,” or a refusal to take it up the ass considered “missing the point” (puns not intended). I’m sure the Packers wont do a damn thing about this but just because it’s an NFL team with lots of money that means it’s ok? If you fucked over a little mom and pop shop for $324K that’s wrong, but if it’s the Packers they have lots of money and should probably be donating to this type of thing anyway, right? I have dead family members. Does that mean my employer should gift me $324K to never lift another finger? If I steal money and get caught can I just blame it on mental health and keep my “earnings?”

            In terms of roster bonuses, workout bonuses, etc, sure $324K isn’t much to an NFL team, but that’s not the point. The point of it is integrity. If Cole Madison plans on never playing in the NFL and keeping all of the money he was given then I can’t respect a kid like that. Just because a team asks for you to return your unearned paycheck does not mean they are insensitive to mental health, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to have their head checked.

          • Stiggy

            I dont gaf about being PC either… in fact I feel many businesses would actually get ahead by saying “fuck pc”… but noone has the balls.

            It’s a lose lose for the packers… they either lose 325k from cole… or they lose 2 million in the media driven court of public opinion PC damage control.

            The nfl loses even more dinero with the 20 year old with a 65 year old brain killing himself via cte… and their treatment of the poor cole Madison who is also “a victim”.

            We dont disagree on the principle of the matter… but principles unfortunately dont always play well in the trial by media environment of 2019.

            For instance… a principle is not to kick a woman in the face… but according to the “media” it’s ok to do so when you simply claim someone said an offensive word to you.. and a couple dime store anger management classes makes it all better right?

            Sometimes the smartest battle is the battle you dont engage in. In this case it’s not worth the battle despite the principles.

            A 5th round pick stealing a quarter million dollars is symptom of the larger narrative.

  7. PF4L

    EMPACADOR

    February 11, 2019 at 3:29 pm
    $324,000 is peanuts to what they are paying Ted. And McCarthy. Asking Madison to pay back that $324 grand is ok if those 2 are required to pay back what they are being paid.

    *********************

    Again Empac, far different situations. But let me see if i’m following your logic, We have no right to ask for Madison’s signing bonus back even though he didn’t report to work?

    Based on the fact Ted got paid last year and McCarthy will get paid this year?

    Am i following you correctly?

    • Empacador

      No. I was looking at it strictly from a wasting money viewpoint with zero return on investment. I understand your point now, being he did not show up for work. Technically they are all stealing unless Ted and McCarthy deserve an extra something for “services rendered” or “past considerations” but I digress.

      I don’t care about the PC aspect of what it looks like at all. I can see where some of that might play into the optics, as mentioned by Kato and Stiggy. At the end of the day, it’s money wasted regardless of the circumstance.

      • PF4L

        Yea…i hear what your saying, but if the philosophy is…..it’s only 324 grand, we waste much more money than that so this isn’t a big deal. You will never win anything again until there is a new thought process.

        This team has a lot of problems my man. Many more than the casual fan realizes, It’s not just limited to player personnel.

  8. Chiller

    “This was a fate that Hilinski could not face and now Michael Cohen is contemplating his own health and future.” FYI Madison Cole not Michael Cohen

    • PF4L

      Ok…if true, i get it. He’s not sure if football is the way he wants to go because of CTE. I would hardly label that as suffering.

      Now….at some point, shouldn’t he come up with a decision, or will this take a few years?

      Maybe it’s time for Mr. Madison to put on his big boy pants and say something or at least have his agent put out a statement. Until then, i can’t give him the benefit of the doubt. Not when it’s shrouded in secrecy.

      • Kato

        This, I can get on board with. I can sympathize with him. But at some point, you can’t let your personal life affect your employer.

  9. Bashaud Breeland should have been a Carolina Panther. $24 mil for 3 years with $11 mil guaranteed. That was the contract terms they came up with, then he gets a non-football related foot injury with an infection and failed a physical. No more $11 mil guaranteed, unless anyone thinks he should have still got that from the Panthers.

    Not an exact comparison but some of the others aren’t either. My heart goes out to Cole Madison. I too have been touched very close by suicide like many others. I didn’t get to take a year off life. It was long time ago and back then, you got back to the routine of things rather quickly. Cole’s anguish and situation are essentially a non-football related injury which could/should have an impact on keeping the money if the Packers would choose go that route. Depends on the contract language and what those lawyerly types decide.

    Before I read all the comments I was also thinking of Chris Borland. I think scouts are going to have a tougher job going into the CTE future. Of all the metrics and measurable data to take into account, the actual will to play and continue in the sport will have to be explored. How big is the “heart” for the game? It really behooves the scouting staff to do some real extra due diligence when making recommendations – as if there wasn’t enough to look into already with some of these guys.

    The CTE concern is becoming a bigger deal by the moment. I have a son who is interviewing for med schools right now. He played youth football, wrestled in HS, and now powerlifts for fun. He has studied CTE and head injuries and said he he’d never get into a sport that causes severe head contacts ever again. This is what a lot of young college athletes are discovering. Some very gifted ones got into college and got it paid for them because they could play football. Some of them could possibly play it at the pro level. They have to decide risk versus reward and gamble their with their brain in the process, or just move on in life with the head start they’ve been given. Scouts will need to figure out who those guys potentially are.

    • Kato

      From what I have researched, part of it is probably genetic makeup. For whatever reason, some people that only play a few years of contact sports in high school get it, but some that play a full career never get it. Some guys like Earl Campbell that was a physical between the tackles runner, I am honestly surprised hasn’t had issues (that we know of).

  10. Cheese

    Well I just spent roughly 30 minutes writing a response only to hit some key on the keyboard and have the page refresh. Everything went up in smoke. Not the site’s fault but still… Damn. This is what I recouped.

    The fact that so many people are arguing why Cole Madison should be able to keep $324K is laughable. “Mental health,” “PC culture,” “non football related injury,” “the cost of bad PR,” “other players have gotten away with more so this isn’t as bad,” “he was suspect to begin with so it’s the Packers fault,”

    Are you fucking kidding me? The kid hasn’t done ANYTHING. He was able to go through the entire process of being drafted and going to unpadded practice, then decides to take the money and run. If he doesn’t want to play football anymore that’s fine but in no way has he earned $324K. That’s over a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS. Pointing the finger at other people doesn’t justify this one bit.

    I wish Cole, his family, and anyone else that is dealing with mental health issues or the loss of a loved one well. These things are not easy but they are also not uncommon. That doesn’t mean every kid who gets drafted in the future can take his signing bonus and disappear for good because some family matter pops up. At some point Mr.Madison needs to decide whether he is going to go to work, or if he is going to return the money he was given and move on with his life. You don’t just leave $324K on the table and write it off as being a good samaritan. Or do you, Russ?

    • PF4L

      I just went through the same thing leaving a response to Kato and Stiggy, lost a post. Then people wonder why i get so on edge :)

      I touched on what you just said in my response to them about Madison making a decision. In a team perspective, this is way out of line. This team isn’t here for social work.

      At some point Madison has to make a decision, and if he can’t make one by now, the team has to make that decision for him. Doesn’t this team have enough problems? Ask him for the money back, or let him steal it. But for the love of Christ, can the Packers move on and build a football team.

      In other words….Do your job!!

      TICK TOCK

  11. PF4L

    I miss discussions like these. Thanks for the spirited chat fellow Packer fans. Some good ol back and forth is good for all of us and it’s fun. Whether your teaching or your learning, doesn’t matter one bit. We as fans win when we have talks like this. It builds rapport among us, we all pick up things, become smarter because of it, and we all learn something about our team. I’m very proud of the crowd that comes in here as most are very well informed, and all are passionate.

    Well done.

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