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Green Bay Packers’ Erik Walden Has Trial Date Set After Super Bowl XLVI: Fan’s Take
It doesn't look like the Green Bay Packers will have to plan for a suspension for Erik Walden during the 2012 NFC playoffs. Instead, they might have to consider what to do with him when he becomes a free agent this offseason.
Walden had previously pleaded "Not guilty" to a misdemeanor following an alleged assault of his live-in girlfriend on Thanksgiving Day. A trial date has been set for February 16, 2012. That's 11 days after Super Bowl XLVI. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has reportedly told the Associated Press that the situation won't be reviewed until after the court case is settled. Defense attorney Steve Richards hopes the case can be resolved on February 13.
Walden spent Thanksgiving weekend in jail after his girlfriend had told police that Walden had pushed her. However, she has since changed her story and now claims that she struck him first. The question has now become whether the girlfriend is trying to protect Walden, whose football career could be jeopardized if he's believed to be a disruptive character.
I think Mike McCarthy and the Packers have handled this situation appropriately. They didn't overreact and suspend him when the news originally broke out. They've waited to gather more information and hear both sides of the story between Walden and the girlfriend.
Some people will accuse the Packers of putting "Victories over morals." I disagree with that assessment. Walden could be the weakest link on a defense that's already been suspect throughout the entire season. He's looked extremely undisciplined as he's constantly over-pursuing ball-carriers. The one play that irked me with him was a reverse play against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Walden was in perfect position to contain the wide receiver on a reverse handoff. Instead, he decided to go after the running back who was running across the field.
The Packers wouldn't lose much with Frank Zombo as a replacement. It might even be an upgrade if Zombo could remain healthy. Therefore, I seriously doubt that the Packers are just trying to get him through the season without punishment. He hasn't played well enough for even the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s to consider that.
The Packers finish the regular season with a home game against the Lions. They've already clinched home-field advantage. They'll get a first-round bye and then play the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants or Lions in the divisional round.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. His favorite Packer moments include Super Bowl XXXI, XLV, and Al Harris interception return following Matt Hasselbeck's "We're gonna score" comments. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.
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