Green Bay Packers linebacker Erik Walden will be forced to sit out during his team’s opening game against the San Francisco 49ers in September.
According to ESPN, the NFL has suspended Walden for one game (without pay) after he was arrested and charged with battery last Thanksgiving weekend during an altercation which sent his girlfriend to the hospital.
At the time, the fifth-year veteran pleaded no contest to misdemeanor disorderly conduct-domestic abuse charge and agreed to perform 50 hours of community service and continue counseling. While he faced no discipline from the Packers or the league during the 2011-2012 season, the then-free agent Walden was aware that a possible NFL suspension could be in the works.
He re-signed with the Packers for one year at $725,000, a deal that contained no signing bonus. Though he is unable to play in Green Bay’s opening game, Walden is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
CBS Sports reports that Walden started 15 games for the Packers in 2011, finishing with three sacks, two passes defensed and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. His play dipped noticeably, however, after the arrest and he was eventually replaced in the lineup by Brad Jones.
Over the course of his five year NFL career, Erik Walden has played for a total of four teams — Packers, Cowboys, Chiefs and Dolphins — and accumulated 101 tackles with 6.0 sacks and one touchdown.