What we do know is that about three weeks ago, Harlan gathered with the seven-member Packers Executive Committee to discuss issues involving Jones.
"I had heard of the issues and looked at the issues and felt it was time for me to … I felt I owed it to the organization," said Harlan. "I report to the executive committee, and it was my obligation to keep the executive committee informed about anything that I thought was going on in the organization, and this is an issue I thought we needed to look at."
Harlan and Platten said they were not legally able to reveal if the ‘issue' involving Jones' was health-related, or a different matter. But when asked if he knew of the issue prior to meeting with the executive committee, Harlan said that he was aware of it and had "hoped for improvement."
Whatever the issue, it appears that it is enough to cost Jones the opportunity to be the next president of the Green Bay Packers. He was scheduled to take over for Harlan on May 31, but on what has historically been one of the quietest weekends of the year for NFL teams, the Packers made a major announcement on the decision to give Jones a leave of absence.
To me, it seems that Jones has more or less been fired with a year's severance pay. Again, that wasn't the official announcement, but it sure seems like that is the case.
If Jones was forced to step down because of health reasons, he probably would have been at the press conference. The fact that he was nowhere to be found, speaks volumes. The tone in which Platten and Harlan addressed the media was very similar to when a coach or manager is fired. Few smiles. All business.
"I don't want to try to make predictions about the future, but I think you can assume the fact that we put him on leave that there would be a possibility that he would be able to come back in the future," said Platten.
The irony of the situation is that Harlan brought Jones from the NFL office to Green Bay eight years ago to become his eventual successor. Together, they led the charge to convince Brown County taxpayers to approve a sales tax that would help fund a $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field. The Board of Directors gave their final OK on promoting Jones to take over for the outbound Harlan about a year ago.
Jones encountered a setback healthwise last June when he had to undergo emergency heart surgery. He recently said that he is fine and looked forward to stepping in as president of the Packers. He was seen watching practices from the sideline of the Packers' recent minicamp. He also recently represented the Packers at an NFL owners meeting in Nashville.
Yes, health could be the issue with Jones, but it certainly seems to be more than a health issue. More like a difference of opinion, or style, or vision. And enough for Harlan to give the executive committee a heads-up. The committee, in turn, has given Jones an apparent ‘thumbs down' to being the next team president.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com.