11

January

McCarthy: Emotional but Healthy Packers Ready for Giants

You could hear it in his voice, you could see it in his face.

The emotion and heartbreak following the sudden death of Michael Philbin, son of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, was on full display as Packers head coach Mike McCarthy addressed the media Wednesday afternoon.

McCarthy got choked up while trying to answer several questions about a tragedy that has visibly shaken the Packers family to its very roots.

“It gives everyone a punch in the heart of reality,” McCarthy said, attempting to hold off tears the best he could.

This was no act, mind you—the Packers typically unyiedling head coach is clearly feeling the weight of a tragedy that is hitting home in a big way.

And as you’d expect, emotion is going to play some kind of factor in the Packers Divisional Round matchup with the New York Giants on Sunday.

Asked if tragedy could result in a more focused team, McCarthy thought it could.

“I think it can,” McCarthy said. “It would be premature for me to comment on it, but the energy was outstanding today, the focus was outstanding.”

McCarthy continued, “It hits you hard how blessed we are to have this opportunity professionally.”

McCarthy was unsure if Philbin would be with the Packers on Sunday. He said he’ll return “when he’s ready.” Philbin was with his family on Wednesday away from the Packers practice facility.

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess if Philbin will return. No one would blame him if he can’t go Sunday.

The Packers’ roster, at the very least, should be the healthiest its been all season Sunday against the Giants. No player missed practice Wednesday, and the limited participants—Randall Cobb (groin), Chad Clifton (hamstring) and Robert Francois (knee)—were all close to being full.

“I feel very good about the health of our football team,” McCarthy said.

Running back James Starks (ankle) returned, and Greg Jennings (knee) was a full participant. Both are expected to play.

The Packers face the Giants this Sunday at 3:30 CT from Lambeau Field.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

9

January

Son of Packers OC Joe Philbin Found Dead in Fox River -

Authorities in Oshkosh have found the body of 21-year-old Michael Philbin, the son of Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin who had been missing from the area since 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Philbin was visiting friends at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh but hadn’t been heard from or seen since late Saturday night.

Earlier this afternoon, a body matching his description was recovered from the Fox River. Multiple media outlets have reported that the body has indeed been identified as Philbin’s son and that Packers players have been notified.

Just like that, with the snap of a finger, football in the Packers family becomes a secondary issue.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy somberly addressed the media at around 3:00 p.m., an hour or so before confirmation of a positive identification had been made. McCarthy said the Packers organization has a “family first philosophy” that will be respected in this case. Media access to the Packers locker room wasn’t made available as standard after McCarthy’s Monday press conference.

If Philbin has to miss Sunday’s game with the New York Giants—and no one would even think to blame him if he did—McCarthy also said the Packers have a contingency plan in place to deal with his absence. Philbin was in Oshkosh Monday.

Philbin has been with the Packers organization since 2003, when he was hired as an offensive line assistant. He was promoted to offensive line coach in 2006 and later in ’07 to offensive coordinator. Philbin had been in Miami and Kansas City over the last week interviewing for head coaching positions.

Philbin and his wife, Diane, have five other children.

The Packers play the New York Giants at 3:30 on Sunday.

We at AllGreenBayPackers.com—and I speak for everyone involved—would like to wish the Philbin family our dearest condolences during this time of crisis.