The NFL on Tuesday suspended Packers outside linebacker Erik Walden for one game for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Walden's ban would keep him out of the season-opener against the 49ers, assuming Walden is on Green Bay's 53-man roster.
Walden was arrested last Thanksgiving after a dispute with his live-in girlfriend. He ultimately pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct-domestic abuse charge. He faced no discipline from the Packers or the league at that time, but in the offseason the then-free agent Walden was aware of a possible NFL suspension. He re-signed with the Packers for one year at $725,000, a deal that contained no signing bonus.
Walden started 15 games for the Packers in 2011, but his play dipped noticeably after the arrest and he was eventually replaced in the lineup by Brad Jones. Last season's poor play, the non-guaranteed contract and the one-game suspension mean Walden is far from a lock to make the team. Green Bay has a glut of OLBs in camp -- they used their first-round draft pick on Nick Perry, the presumptive starter opposite Clay Matthews; Jones has gotten some first-team reps in practice; undrafted rookie Dezman Moses has been impressive; and holdovers Frank Zombo and Vic So'oto in the mix as well.
If he is on the roster, Walden would be suspended without pay for the Sept. 9 opener against San Francisco, eligible to return to the active roster on Sept. 10. He is allowed to practice and play in all preseason games.
Also, according to the team, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be in Green Bay visiting Packers training camp on Wednesday.
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