Wishing Cole Madison Well As He Leaves Green Bay

The Green Bay Packers released offensive guard Cole Madison on Friday as the team reduced its roster to get to the NFL prescribed limit of 80 during this unusual training camp. It was a disappointing way to end Madison’s time in Green Bay which started with so much promise just two years ago.

Madison was selected by the Packers in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the first conducted by GM Brian Gutekunst. Madison attended OTAs and took part in minicamp with the Packers that spring but never reported to training camp.

The former Washington State star was dealing with off the field issues revolving around the suicide of his good friend and college teammate Tyler Hilinski in January of 2018.

“I love football, but at that point, it was my health, and my life was on the line,” Madison told Packers.com when he returned to the team in 2019. “I had to go help myself before my football career. If I didn’t get my chickens in order back then, I don’t think I’d be here right now.”

It took courage for Madison to go public with his mental health issues. Football players are considered a tough group and to many people, it used to be considered “weak” to seek help for depression or other psychological issues. But Madison stepped up and got the help he needed before rejoining the team for training camp last season.

“This last year was really just focused on myself,” Madison explained when he returned. “Not even football or nothing, just myself and my mental health and everything like that. I was dealing with a lot of things off the field for a long time that I was putting off, and it finally caught up to me, and I had to take care of that, make a grown-man decision. I did that, and then after that I decided I wanted to come back and play some football. So that's why I'm here.”

Madison was able to win over his teammates quickly and they were all supportive of him when he returned to the team. “He has been a great addition to the room,” center Corey Linsley said during training camp last summer. “Cole has displayed nothing but a positive attitude since he's been back. (He says) he's asking me so many questions he feels like I'm getting sick of it. That's because he wants to get better and he wants to know, and he wants to not make the same mistake twice.”

Madison made the team last season as a backup guard.  Free agent Billy Turner and rookie second round pick Elgton Jenkins started the final 14 games after starting left guard Lane Taylor was lost for the season in Week 2. Although he was on the active roster, Madison never appeared in a game for the Packers. He was one of the team’s inactive players until suffering a torn ACL in practice in November. On November 23, the Packers placed Madison on the season-ending injured reserve list. The injury was severe and required surgery.

Madison was facing a tough battle to make the roster this year even if he was fully recovered from his knee injury. The Packers drafted three interior offensive linemen in the late rounds of this year’s draft to compete for roster spots. Taylor took a reduced salary to remain with the team and Lucas Patrick, who was the primary backup, is also returning and ready to play.

Even with the lack of OTAs and preseason games this year, the Packers figured to be interested in keeping some of their new draft picks and seeing what they can do. Madison had to be considered a long shot unless he really took a step forward this year in training camp.

Unfortunately, Madison’s Packers career never got off the ground. His first season was lost to mental illness and a knee injury ended his 2019 campaign early and prevented him from working out extensively during the offseason this year.

Madison’s NFL dream is now at a crossroads. He may get a chance with another team this season although the pandemic makes that a bit less likely, or he may sign on with a team later during the year when injuries strike.

The most important thing is that Cole Madison took care of his own health first and was able to make the Packers roster after sitting out a year. Whatever the future holds for him, we wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his career.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (25)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
13TimeChamps's picture

August 01, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Best of luck to him. Well written article.

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GilMartin's picture

August 01, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Thank you, 13TimeChamps. Glad you enjoyed it. I always try to remember these players are people just like the rest of us although with pro athletes it's sometimes easy for fans to forget that. Thanks as always for commenting.

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JerseyAl's picture

August 01, 2020 at 06:00 pm

Why would this comment get any thumbs down? Someone enlighten me.

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 01, 2020 at 06:20 pm

I was kind of wondering that myself. Three of them even...lol. Oh well.

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dobber's picture

August 01, 2020 at 07:12 pm

Because he's had it out with Leatherhead and a couple others recently and generated a cadre of phantom downvoters.

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JerseyAl's picture

August 01, 2020 at 07:31 pm

Well isn't that all grown-up and mature...

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 01, 2020 at 08:01 pm

I'm sorry if I've "had it out" with some of the more established members of this site. I'm on here to voice my opinion like everyone else. I try my best to keep it civil, but I'm sure I'm not always 100% successful in that regard. I've had some pretty nasty things said to me as well. It doesn't bother me at all. It's pretty much the nature of online conversations these days.

To the "cadre of phantom downvoters", I really don't pay much attention to the up or down votes, so downvote all you like. I'm sure I'll get a few from this post. So be it.

Keep up the good work CHTV. Lots of interesting articles to comment on.

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Vrog's picture

August 02, 2020 at 05:41 am

Only in America!

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

August 01, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Gil, as always a terrific article. Thanks for providing your prospective and insight. I was always pulling for Cole to succeed and perhaps he still will get a chance to play in the NFL.

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GilMartin's picture

August 02, 2020 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Ferrari-Driver, I really appreciate them. I hope Cole will make good either in the NFL or if he has to move on to his post-football career. Always good to hear from you, my friend.

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Lare's picture

August 01, 2020 at 01:13 pm

I have nothing against Cole Madison, he did what he had to do.

My question is what the Packers do to check on college players before they draft & sign them. Do they even bother to make a couple phone calls to friends and family members to see where their head is at?

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flackcatcher's picture

August 01, 2020 at 04:07 pm

The Packers knew Madison wasn't going to play that season when they drafted him. Gute made it clear in his presser that Madison was a future pick. Injuries and virus ruined that. Still, could end up on Packers or somebodies PS. He has too much talent for some team not to take another shot on him.

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PhantomII's picture

August 01, 2020 at 07:25 pm

I don't know, but it's a good thing the Packers don't do this before we are accepted as fans?

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GilMartin's picture

August 02, 2020 at 12:41 pm

I don't think his struggles with his friend's suicide were known at the time of the draft, or at least not the severity of the situation. Thanks for commenting, Lare.

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JQ's picture

August 01, 2020 at 03:07 pm

I wish nothing but the best for Cole Madison, whether he plays football or not.

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GilMartin's picture

August 02, 2020 at 12:42 pm

I do, too, JQ. It's too easy to forget that these guys are people sometimes, not just images we see on TV or in uniform on the field. Thanks for the comment.

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nstewart1's picture

August 01, 2020 at 03:26 pm

Too bad. I hope he catches-on somewhere.

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GilMartin's picture

August 02, 2020 at 12:42 pm

So do I, nstewart1. Thanks for the comment.

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mnbadger's picture

August 01, 2020 at 08:56 pm

Mental illness affects nearly one in four americans per the National Alliance for Mental Illness. Many males affected start major symptoms in early 20's. No way to screen or scout for it. Statistically its going to happen. Everson Griffen lost parts of two seasons while dealing with his illness. It can be invisible to the outside world,
yet debilitating to those suffering. Packer nation wishes you nothing but the best. GPG

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GilMartin's picture

August 02, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Well said, mbadger. It's not a visible thing and yes, more people are affected by it than we think. Thanks for this important comment.

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WisconsinStrong's picture

August 01, 2020 at 11:24 pm

Gil, unlike so many other writers, you always find new perspectives that give us greater appreciation for our players. Thanks for this dignified and insightful tribute to Cole, and all the best to him.

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GilMartin's picture

August 02, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Wow, WisconsinStrong, thank you very much. I don't know what to say except you made my day. Thanks for the kind words and for reading my work.

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gbjohnw53's picture

August 02, 2020 at 11:16 pm

I've stated on FaceBook AND to my family that if you can't take care of yourself, you can't properly take care of ANYBODY else. I'm a 67y.o. retired Navy vet living in subsidized housing. I'm VERY thankful for this. About 25 years ago I went through a period where I just didn't care about my job or much else for about 6 months. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't figure it out After asking my 2 best friends (who had no idea) I mulled it. I determined that I was going a period of depression. This was refreshing in that I now knew what I had to deal with..AND DID. I wish Cole the best!

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mnbadger's picture

August 03, 2020 at 09:04 am

Thank you for your courage. Its very hard to understand brain disorders unless you've experienced it first or second hand. GPG

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alicebraga's picture

August 06, 2020 at 09:59 pm

I wish nothing but the best for Cole Madison.
https://spanishdictionary.cc/

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