GREEN BAY - After 10 months away from football, Green Bay Packers 2018 fifth-round pick Cole Madison has decided to return to the game.
A source said Madison was among the 80-plus players who reported for the team’s first day of the off-season conditioning program and has been reinstated from the reserve/did not report list.
Madison took part in the program after getting drafted but he did not return for training camp and sat out the entire season. Madison and his representatives made the Packers aware that he was dealing with a personal matter and that they didn’t know if he would be able to return this year.
The Athletic confirmed numerous rumors that Madison had been deeply affected by the suicide of one of his Washington State teammates.
The Packers liked what they saw of Madison a year ago and thought he would be able to battle for the starting right guard position. He joins veteran free agent Billy Turner Jr. as potential starters added to the roster this year.
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The 6-5, 308-pound Madison should adapt well to the Packers’ new wide-zone run game. Scouts said his strengths coming out of Washington State were his quickness and foot speed, which are essential in executing blocks in new coach Matt LaFleur’s run game.
However, he lacks experience pass blocking in a pro-style offense and has been away from football for a year and how long it takes him to adapt to the speed and complexity of the game will determine whether he can help the Packers. He has yet to practice in pads in the NFL.
The Packers were carrying $235,000 of salary-cap money – half of his base salary -- during Madison’s time away and will tack on another another $260,000 now that he is back on the 90-man roster.