Letroy Guion is thankful.
So are his teammates.
After being arrested in February for marijuana- and firearms-related felonies, Guion’s future in Green Bay was uncertain. But Guion agreed to deferred prosecution and wound up re-signing with the Packers, who voiced steadfast support for a player who impressed on the field as well as the locker room.
“It meant a lot to me,” Guion said on Thursday. “It means that the organization cares about me and believes in me. That was big for me.”
Whether it was quarterback Aaron Rodgers or coach Mike McCarthy, the team’s leaders made it clear they had Guion’s back.
“Yeah, I did (reach out) because he’s a guy who came in here and every day after practice he was in the weight room working out,” fellow defensive lineman Mike Daniels said. “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. I’m glad they brought him back because he’s a guy who’s going to give you everything that he has. He takes this seriously. You have to appreciate that about somebody.”
Added nose tackle B.J. Raji, who signed a one-year deal with Guion on March 30: “When I heard that news (about the arrest), I got in contact with him and let him know I was behind him and to keep his head up. He knows who he is. We all make mistakes and that’s behind him. That’s behind us and we’re happy to have him back.”
They sure were happy to have him in 2014. Guion was signed last offseason after being let go by the Vikings for cap-related purposes, but was in danger of being released last summer due to a hamstring injury that kept him out for most of training camp. However, Guion became one of the more valuable defenders on the team after Raji sustained a season-ending injury in the preseason. Guion started all 16 games for the first time in his career and recorded career-high totals of 62 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
“He came out and worked harder than anybody to the point where guys are probably telling him to slow down,” Daniels said. “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. ‘I’m headed in this direction. Follow me if you want to. If you don’t, that’s on you.’ That’s kind of the mentality you have to have is we’re all headed in the right direction and doing the right things. If you don’t want to follow us, then see you later.”
Last season, Guion was the starting nose tackle and was flanked by Daniels and Datone Jones or Josh Boyd at the defensive end spots. During Thursday’s OTA, Raji was at nose tackle with Guion and Daniels as the No. 1 ends.
If Guion can play as well as he did last season and if Raji can play as well as he did when he was a full-time nose tackle in 2010, the Packers’ defense should be much tougher to run against. Last season, Green Bay finished 23rd against the run (119.9 yards per game) and 20th in yards allowed per carry (4.27).
“With Letroy, I get more into the football aspect of it,” defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said. “Now we get into their families, but I don’t get into a lot of that with them. Letroy is full-go when it comes to football. Letroy is like a little kid out there. He loves this game. He loves to practice. There’s obviously no difference in that with him. But you can see some maturity in him.”
Not surprisingly, Guion was all about looking forward rather than looking back to the events of Feb. 4. He has not been notified by the league about a potential suspension.
“I’m going to approach my everyday football life like I’ve been approaching it,” he said. “Come in here, work hard, do all the things I have to do to be a great football player.”
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