Aaron Nagler and Ryan Wood discuss the health of the Packers heading into training camp and a strong initial showing from their rookie punter. (July 27, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY - It isn’t the preferred way for Geronimo Allison to start his second season, but the Green Bay Packers receiver said he’s ready to attack training camp knowing there’s a one-game suspension waiting at the end.
Allison will miss the Packers' opening game against the Seattle Seahawks because of a league-enforced suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He was charged with a misdemeanor possession of marijuana in December after being pulled over for speeding three months earlier.
After reaching a settlement with prosecutors, Allison was required to pay $330.50 with community service requirements, and the charge was amended to an ordinance violation. He’ll also miss one game without pay.
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It’s unclear whether Allison appealed the suspension, but he said the NFL’s one-game ruling was its initial punishment.
“That’s the policy,” Allison said. “I’m going to own up to it, and just look at it like this. Last year, my season started in Atlanta and ended in Atlanta. And this year, it’ll be starting in Atlanta again.
“It was a mistake that happened. I just have to own up to it, take full responsibility of it and try not to make that mistake again, and just learn from it.”
Allison started last season on the practice squad, but he was promoted before the Packers' trip to play the Falcons in October. By the time the Packers returned to Atlanta for the NFC championship game, he already had secured a role as quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ fourth receiver.
It was an impressive ascension for a rookie who went undrafted out of Illinois. Allison said the game slowed and became easier late in the season. He caught four passes for 66 yards in Week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings, then led the Packers in receiving with 91 yards and a touchdown on four catches when they clinched their NFC North title one week later at the Detroit Lions.
“I started kind of getting comfortable with the plays,” Allison said, “comfortable being out there, listening to Aaron and understanding what my role was and what my job was.”
Out on Ray Nitschke Field, Allison was taking reps with Rodgers, rotating with the first-team offense. On one team rep Thursday, Allison beat LaDarius Gunter off the line of scrimmage. He was open deep, but Rodgers’ pass sailed inches past his fingertips.
That Allison is already getting reps with Rodgers shows how different things are than a year ago. He’s established in the offense now, confident a job will be waiting when he returns from the suspension.
“I just know what to expect,” Allison said. “I’m not running around like a deer in the headlights and wide eyes. I know what to expect. I know how things are operating around here. I’m more able to go with the flow and learn and take things one day at a time.”