In somewhat of a surprise move, the Green Bay Packers announced Monday the re-signing of OLB Erik Walden.
It’s surprising for a couple of reasons: First, Walden’s play on the field started at an even keel the first half of last season and then nosedived after the incident with his girlfriend in their apartment last Thanksgiving eve. He was arrested, spent the weekend in jail and was eventually sentenced to complete a number of community service hours.
While the public perception of Walden sunk after the incident, it was his play on the field that was most disconcerting last year. After showing great promise at the end of 2010 in helping to solidify the position as the Packers made the run to the Super Bowl championship, Walden seemed to plateau and then pretty much disappeared from the landscape as the 2011 season wore on. Clearly, his play on the field was tied to his personal troubles.
But another thing is clear: The Packers like the guy and are willing to give him another chance.
I like that …
Walden now gets his chance to compete for a spot on the team.
Here is the press release issued by the Packers’ PR department announcing Walden’s re-signing:
PACKERS RE-SIGN LB WALDEN
The Green Bay Packers have re-signed LB Erik Walden. The signing was announced Monday by Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson.
In 2011, Walden appeared in all 16 contests and made a career-high 15 starts. He finished fifth on the defense with a career-best 86 tackles (50 solo), along with three sacks, two passes defensed and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. Walden originally signed with the Packers as a free agent in October 2010 and went on to play in nine contests with two starts that season, along with another three starts in the postseason.
Walden was drafted by Dallas in the sixth round (No. 167 overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Middle Tennessee State. After being waived by the Cowboys in the final roster reduction, he was claimed by Kansas City and played in nine contests for the Chiefs in ’08. He also appeared in 19 games for Miami from 2008-10. For his career, Walden has played in 53 games with 17 starts and has recorded 117 tackles (69 solo), six sacks, two passes defensed, a fumble recovery, and 28 tackles on special teams.