Packers TE Jace Sternberger Must Sit Out First 2 Games Because of His ‘Horrible Decision’

While much of the focus at Green Bay Packers camp is on someone who isn’t with the team, there was some news Thursday regarding a player who won’t be with the squad for the first two games. Aaron Rodgers has been getting all the attention for his holdout, but third-year tight end Jace Sternberger was in the news for all the wrong reasons. Sternberger will miss the first two games of the season after the “horrible decision” he made in February.

Jace Sternberger suspended for violating NFL Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse

Jace Sternberger #87 of the Green Bay Packers on the field in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 22, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

The Packers would likely welcome any news not related to their quarterback situation. With Rodgers holding out in an ugly dispute with the front office, the attention in Green Bay has been on what’s happening off the field. The team got more off-the-field headlines Thursday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sternberger will miss the first two games of the season without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse.

Sternberger will miss games against the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions. He is eligible to return Week 3 when the Packers travel to play the San Francisco 49ers.

Sternberger is a 6-foot-4, 251-pound tight end out of Texas A&M. The Packers selected him in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft. He played in 12 games last season, making 12 catches and scoring one touchdown.

Jace Sternberger owns up to his ‘horrible decision’

While Sternberger is suspended for his actions, he’s not running away from the problem. On Thursday, he made a statement posted on social media. He admitted to making a “horrible decision” and revealed he has been attending therapy sessions for the last 16 months.

“In February, 2020 I made a horrible decision,” he wrote on Twitter. “While on Anti-Depressants, I decided to drink which led me to falling asleep behind the wheel. My coaches and teammates were the first people to know. I want to apologize to the GB Packers organization and everyone else who has supported me along this journey. It is never okay to drink and get behind the wheel.

“Over the past 16 months, I’ve been going to therapy and continuously working to be a better person. I will never ignore my mistakes, I have owned up to my poor decision and accept the consequences.” 

Sternberger hasn’t lived up to expectations with the Packers

The Packers placed Sternberger on IR with an ankle injury right before his rookie season began. He wasn’t activated until the first week in November and appeared in six regular-season games. He was targeted once.

Last year, Sternberger played in 12 games and caught 12 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Robert Tonyan has become the main tight end for the Packers. The fourth-year man out of Indiana State became Rodgers’ biggest weapon from the tight end position last year. He came into his own, catching 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sternberger has a long way to go to catch Tonyan, and the late start to 2021 won’t do him any favors.

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