Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson was observed speaking with Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough at the site of the East-West Shrine Game practice on Wednesday, according to Charlie Campell of WalterFootball.com.
Perhaps Thompson was getting the inside scoop from Bullough on why he was suspended for the Rose Bowl.
For as good a career as Bullough had at Michigan State, the legend of his suspension is starting to overshadow his achievements on the football field as a two-time captain and first-team All-Big Ten selection.
As the story goes, Bullough was suspended on Christmas night for a violation of team rules that neither the university nor Bullough himself has been forthcoming about.
When Michigan State won their first Rose Bowl since 1988, a game which Bullough played a very large role in helping the Spartans qualify for in the first place, the star linebacker was nowhere to be found.
Observers everywhere have wondered what Bullough did to justify a suspension for the biggest and last game of his career but so far have gotten no answers.
Despite his invitation and presence at this week's college all-star game, public relations representatives of the Shriners have reportedly said Bullough will do "absolutely no media (interviews)," only furthering speculation.
Beyond the curious nature of his suspension, Bullough also reportedly measured in at an unexpectedly heavy 265 lbs. at the Shrine Game this week, 20 lbs. more than his published weight at Michigan State.
A few extra pounds, however, apparently haven't hindered Bullough's effectiveness on the football field.
According to Cheesehead TV's own "Pro Football Draft Preview" analyst Paul Guillemette on site at the East-West Shrine Game practice on Wednesday, "(Bullough) has been incredibly active and around the ball constantly. He had a big interception in the middle of the field during 11-on-11 this afternoon. I’m still not convinced that this is his ideal playing weight, but it does not appear to be hindering his play so far."
If there's a defensive system in which Bullough or any inside linebacker can get by at 265 lbs., it's a 3-4 defense like the Packers currently run, where he'd play side by side with another inside linebacker and generally be responsible for less ground to cover.
After a season in which the Packers ranked 25th in total defense, the Packers are conceivably in need of an upgrade at the position, despite the presence of A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones, each of whom are under contract for 2014 and being paid like starters.
Bullough made 76 tackles in 2013, 9.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and one forced fumble, one season after he made 110 tackles as a junior, 12.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.
NFLDraftScout.com, the gold standard outlet for NFL draft coverage, has Bullough projected as a mid to late round draft choice.
On Tuesday, Thompson was seen talking to North Carolina safety Tre Boston.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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