Expectations 'loud and clear' for player conduct
Despite an offseason that included two suspensions – and possibly three – because of off-field conduct, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he isn't worried about his team's leadership.
Defensive ends Letroy Guion (three games) and Datone Jones (one game) were suspended after drug-related incidents this offseason. Tight end Andrew Quarless is subject to punishment from the league office after being arrested for discharging a firearm in public July 4 in in Miami Beach, Fla.
McCarthy said he talked with all three players about their legal issue. Each, he said, understands they represent the Packers on and off the field. He doesn't believe the message needs to change with the rest of his team, despite the rash of arrests.
"The message of the brand of the Green Bay Packers is never revisited. It's constant," McCarthy said. "It hits the players, it hits every employee as soon as you walk through the door. It's part of every meeting, particularly whether it's at the beginning of the offseason program, at the beginning of a rookie orientation camp, at the beginning of training camp. It will happen again (Wednesday) like it always has, and then it's reinforced throughout.
"I think it's loud and clear in our locker room, particularly where the three circumstances we're talking about. Clearly, everybody understands their role and their responsibility of playing in Green Bay."
Perhaps the biggest impact the arrests have on training camp is how the Packers coaching staff distributes practice reps, McCarthy said.
The team can expect Guion, Jones and Quarless for most of the season, but all three are likely to miss the opener Sept. 13 in Chicago. Quarless is the lone player who has not yet been suspended, but that could change.
The veteran tight end has a court date Aug. 10 in Miami Beach. McCarthy said he had a "long conversation" with Quarless after the arrest.
"It's in the legal process right now," McCarthy said. "So he made a mistake. Frankly, I'm disappointed. He's disappointed. But all of our players know that our program is about protecting the brand, the tradition, and the history of the Green Bay Packers. Those were the first things that came out of his mouth in the phone call. He made a mistake, so we're working through it."
An argument could be made that a zero-tolerance policy would offer the best protection. Instead, the Packers re-signed Guion as a free agent this offseason, and chose to retain Jones and Quarless.
McCarthy said he treated each case individually, gathering all the facts. Ultimately, he said, the best decision was to keep each player.
"The tolerance level isn't very high," McCarthy said. "So you look at every case, there's two sides to every story. Obviously, there's mistakes that have been made. You learn from them, and you try to move forward – whatever direction you decide.
"That's really the thought process and the conversation that goes on internally."
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