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Packers offensive lineman Cole Madison unlikely to return to football

Cole Madison, Packers

In the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Washington State offensive lineman Cole Madison with the 138th overall pick.

However, Madison left the Packers after the conclusion of the team’s offseason program last June and never returned. No one knew why, with Green Bay calling Madison’s absence a “personal matter.”

Now, we are getting some clarity.

According to Michael Cohen of The Athletic, the death of Madison’s collegiate teammate, Tyler Hilinski, is keeping him away from the game, and there seems to be a good chance that Madison will never play football again.

“The death of Tyler is in his head,” a source familiar with Madison’s situation told Cohen. “I don’t think he’s coming back. At least he’s not showing signs of it right now.”

Hilinski, a quarterback at Washington State, took his own life in January 2018. It was then later discovered that Hilinski had been dealing with CTE, an issue that has become eerily present among football players.

“He’s still dealing with some of the things that he was dealing with at the beginning of the season last year,” said Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst of Madsison. “Obviously we wish him the best and we’d love to, at some point, get him out there on the field to help us. But when that time is going to be, we’re not there yet.”

Hilinski’s struggle with CTE was revealed in June 2018, which was, perhaps not so coincidentally, right around the time that Madison decided to step back from football.