Eight months after his arrest, the NFL has banned Packers LB Erik Walden for one game.
By PAUL IMIGFS Wisconsin
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It took eight months to act, but the NFL has suspended Packers linebacker Erik Walden without pay for Green Bay's first regular-season game.
An NFL spokesperson announced the one-game suspension for Walden on Tuesday afternoon.
Walden was arrested during Thanksgiving weekend last year following the Packers' win in Detroit over the Lions. Walden was held in jail under felony charges of substantial battery for three days after an alleged physical altercation at his home sent his girlfriend to the hospital.
When Walden's live-in girlfriend later changed her story regarding the incident, charges were not filed and Walden was released from jail.
Walden did not miss any games last season due to the arrest.
Walden started 15 games at outside linebacker for the Packers last season and had three sacks. However, Walden is not projected to be a starter this season after Green Bay drafted outside linebacker Nick Perry in the first round. Walden did receive some snaps with the first-team defense during Tuesday's practice, but he was likely to be a backup this season regardless of a suspension.
Walden can participate in all preseason practices and games and is eligible to return to the Packers' active roster on Sept. 10, the day after the team's season-opening game at home against the San Francisco 49ers.
Walden is the third player on Green Bay's roster who will be unavailable in Week 1 due to a league suspension. Walden joins defensive end Mike Neal, who is suspended for the first four games of the regular season due to a violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, and defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, who is suspended for eight games due to his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty program and to a league suspension.