Packers' Geronimo Allison faces marijuana charge

Michael Cohen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana last month after a traffic stop and subsequent arrest in early September.

The district attorney's office for Manitowoc County filed the charge on Dec. 15, 2016. 

Allison, 22, was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 43 near Francis Creek at 1:19 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2016, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Journal Sentinel. His Dodge rental car was clocked at 81 mph on a stretch of highway with a posted speed limit of 70 mph.

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The complaint states trooper Bryan Ashenbrenner of the Wisconsin State Patrol smelled marijuana emanating from the car. Allison, who identified himself as a member of the Packers, denied smoking marijuana or having an illegal substance in the vehicle. He said the odor was left over from the night before when he was “with some guys that were smoking marijuana,” according to the narrative report.

But Ashenbrenner’s search of the vehicle produced three Backwoods cigars on the front passenger seat, and two of them were filled with a “green leafy material” that tested positive for THC.

Allison was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana and taken to the Manitowoc County Jail, where he declined to answer further questions. He was issued a citation for speeding and posted the $100 bond.

His first court appearance for the possession charge is scheduled for Jan. 23 in Manitowoc. The speeding ticket came with a $200.50 fine.

“The Packers are aware of the matter involving Geronimo Allison," the team said in a statement Tuesday. "Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will refrain from making any further comment.”

An NFL spokesman said the league was aware of the matter and would have no further comment at this time. The NFL does not take action on substance-abuse charges until after the court case is resolved. If Allison were to be convicted, he could face discipline under the league's substance-abuse policy.

An undrafted rookie from Illinois, Allison signed with the Packers after the NFL draft. He piqued the interest of coach Mike McCarthy and his staff beginning in OTAs and minicamp, when his smooth route running and reliable hands first became apparent.

As Allison parlayed his early success into a stellar training camp — the chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers was clear to see — the Packers believed him to be a legitimate prospect.

“You go back and look at his complete body of work since training camp and what he’s been able to do as well as from the practice standpoint, some of the things we see but you don’t get an opportunity to see,” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said Dec. 26. “You see that consistent player continue to build and continue to learn and continue to grow over the weeks.”

Though he did not make the 53-man roster, Allison quickly re-signed to the Packers’ practice squad and awaited his opportunity. He was promoted to the active roster Oct. 24 after general manager Ted Thompson placed fellow receiver Jared Abbrederis on injured reserve.

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Allison debuted against the Atlanta Falcons when receiving ranks were thinned by the absences of Ty Montgomery (illness) and Randall Cobb (injury). Allison made two catches for 21 yards and scored the first touchdown of his career on a 4-yard pass from Rodgers.

Allison’s playing time dwindled in late November and early December, but a late-season ankle injury to Cobb thrust him into a prominent role at a crucial time. He caught four passes for 66 yards on Christmas Eve against the Minnesota Vikings and four more passes for 91 yards and a touchdown in Detroit the very next week. The best performance of Allison's career helped the Packers secure an NFC North title. 

His importance skyrocketed again last weekend when top receiver Jordy Nelson left Sunday's win over the New York Giants with what a league source said was multiple broken ribs. Aside from Cobb and Davante Adams, who remain the leading targets for Rodgers, it’s Allison whose role will expand the most if Nelson cannot play against the Dallas Cowboys.

Allison finished the regular season with 12 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. He made one catch for 8 yards against the Giants. 

“It would be a huge loss for us obviously,” Rodgers said of playing without Nelson. “But Geronimo has been playing a lot for us and he’s been playing effectively. … Geronimo is going to have to step up and play extended time if Jordy is going to be out.”

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