The Green Bay Packers got a boost of good — albeit unexpected — news on Monday, but the best news is actually for one specific player on the team. Last year, the Packers drafted offensive lineman Cole Madison in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. However, the Washington State lineman spent all season on the reserve/did not report list.
On Monday, Madison reportedly returned to the active roster, reporting to Lambeau Field for the start of offseason workouts after missing all of 2018. ESPN’s Field Yates had the report of his activation, while Rob Demovsky reports that he was in attendance.
Madison’s absence has been highly scrutinized, but is reportedly due to fallout after his former college teammate and close friend, Tyler Hilinski, died by suicide last January. Madison participated in the offseason workouts after being drafted, but following a summer break, he did not report for training camp, instead seemingly taking time off to cope with his friend’s death. The Athletic’s Michael Cohen wrote a detailed story on Madison’s absence earlier this offseason, which made that explanation more clear.
The fact that Madison has returned to the team seems to be great news for him. Although his struggles with the situation may continue into the future, this at least suggests that he is beginning to cope with last year’s tragedy and has indeed been getting the help he needs.
As a secondary concern, this is great news for the Packers as well. The team had expected that Madison would compete for the starting right guard position in 2018 before his unfortunate absence. With him out of the picture, the team rotated through Justin McCray, Byron Bell, and Lucas Patrick at the position with little success. Although the team signed free agent Billy Turner in March to bolster the line, Madison’s return could provide additional depth and competition, which is always welcome in the trenches.
Some Packers players are scheduled to meet with the media on Wednesday afternoon, the third day of the offseason workout program. The team’s voluntary veteran minicamp is scheduled for three weeks from now, running from April 23 to 25.