Cole Madison, the Green Bay Packers’ fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft, opened up Tuesday on why he took a year off from playing football the year he was drafted, without going into too much detail:
“I love football, but at that point it was my health, and my life was on the line,” he said. “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.”
The Green Bay Packers selected him based on his stellar performance and general athleticism he displayed as Washington State’s offensive tackle. Walking away from a promising rookie season was not an easy choice to make, especially seeing as the Packers really needed a strong right guard. Despite this, Madison knows he did the right thing.
“That decision to really go out and seek help, especially for men our age, going out and starting that process is real tough,” he said. “Real tough. If I had to make it again, I’d do it again. Because it was the greatest decision I think I ever made.”
Madison said he was in a funk all last year, but the fog dissipated late in 2018. Things began to change around Christmas and he realized he wanted to go back to play for the Packers.
“This last year was just really for me day by day,” he said, “taking everything day by day. It wasn’t really looking into the future. Then that day came where I was like, ‘Hey, you know, I’m coming back. I want to play some ball.’ So that brought us here.”
Green Bay’s general manager, Brian Gutekunst, called Madison’s appearance at spring workouts a “really, really pleasant surprise.”
But will he make the starting team next year? After his absence, the Packers signed on another potential right guard in Billy Turner a month before.
“However they want me to play, I’ll play for them,” Madison said. “They had my back, I’ll have their back now.”