Packers defensive lineman Letroy Guion apologizes for his offseason incident involving marijuana, cash and a gun. (May 28, 2015)
By the end of his first season with the Green Bay Packers, defensive tackle Letroy Guion had nothing left to prove to his teammates.
His work ethic won them over quickly. Their appreciation came from both sides of the locker room. Late last season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Guion was one of his favorite teammates ever. Fellow defensive tackle Mike Daniels said he never saw Guion take a rep off.
He was full speed, all the time.
"He's a guy who came in here," Daniels said, "and every day after practice he was in the weight room working out. He was going 100 miles per hour in practice at all times, and it translated over into the game. He had his best season in seven years. So to see that, he did nothing but gain everybody's respect."
Guion finished the 2014 season knowing he had a future with the Packers. That future was tossed into peril following a February arrest for marijuana possession in his hometown of Starke, Fla.
Even then, Daniels said, the respect teammates had for Guion never wavered. But, as a free agent, nothing was guaranteed. In his first public comments since the arrest, Guion said Thursday he thought about how good he fit with the Packers and wondered if one mistake cost him.
"At the sign of trouble you always have worries," Guion said, "but I'm glad they stood by me. I'm glad they stuck behind me and helped me get through this."
Several reached out to him for support and encouragement during his legal troubles, Guion said. Daniels and fellow defensive tackle B.J. Raji were among them.
Both said Thursday they were glad to see the Packers give Guion a second chance. Guion signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract this spring.
"He didn't have to prove anything," Daniels said. "He came out and worked harder than anybody, to the point where guys are probably telling him to slow down. I come in, and I'm feeling tired after a long day, and I see him all dressed up after practice. I say, 'Where you going?' He's like, 'I'm off to lift weights.' Now I feel compelled to go lift weights as well. That's how you hold each other accountable.
"To see that, he did nothing but gain everybody's respect. I'm glad they brought him back because he's a guy who's going to give you everything that he has. He made a mistake, but definitely identified (it)."
Guion didn't expound much on his legal situation, only saying it was behind him. When asked if he received his confiscated vehicle and almost $200,000 in cash, he declined to answer. But Guion apologized – twice – for his arrest and said he appreciated support from his team.
Asked what he learned from the ordeal, Guion as blunt.
"I learned not to make mistakes in the offseason," Guion said.
Guion had a career-high 3 1/2 sacks last season, serving as a replacement starter at nose tackle after Raji's year was lost to a torn right biceps tendon in preseason. With Guion and Raji together, the Packers could have some flexibility along their defensive line.
Both have the ability to play nose tackle, but both could also play defensive end. Guion might be the most likely candidate after Raji's struggles at defensive end in 2012-13. During Thursday's practice, Guion got some defensive end reps in the Packers' base scheme.
Guion wouldn't discuss potential defensive line configurations, though he admitted the possibility of him playing defensive end. No matter who's at nose tackle, Daniels said playing alongside Guion or Raji will benefit him.
"Those two guys," Daniels said, "they bring a lot of experience and they bring a lot of passion and attitude. They do things the right way. To be able to have them back, especially I get to line up next to them, it makes you feel that much better the guy next to you is going to beat the crap out of the guy across from him. It makes you want to do your job even that much better."
-firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood