The “Worst Non-Active Player” in Packers History? SI Makes Their Selection

Tony Mandarich

Sports Illustrated has put out a piece on the “Worst non-active player by franchise” for each and every franchise, the Packers included.

The player that the author the piece, Doug Farrar, picked was truly a bust – that being former OL Tony Mandarich, a former first-round pick who never panned out.

Tony Mandarich
OT, Green Bay Packers

”Mandarich was all a facade,” former Bears defensive lineman Dan Hampton said in 1992. ”The Packers got the prize, unwrapped it and saw that he wasn’t the same—physically and emotionally—as what they had seen in college. He’s pathetic.”

That was three years after Mandarich welcomed a level of hype seen by no other offensive line draft prospect before or since. While his Michigan State coaches were saying Mandarich was perhaps the best blocker the game had yet seen, opposing players and coaches were sniping about his alleged steroid use. The All-American could have proven the detractors wrong when the Packers took him with the No. 2 pick in the 1989 draft, but in the end Mandarich was a story more than he was a player—a jacked-up muscle freak who loved to pump iron to Guns ‘N’ Roses, but tended to wilt when facing the NFL’s best pass-rushers. He didn’t have the strength and footwork for the next level, and he was indeed juiced up, which he admitted in 2008. After the Packers cut him in 1992, he spent time in rehab and finished his NFL career in a credible fashion with the Colts from 1996–98. A journeyman at best, Mandarich is perhaps the league’s most prominent cautionary tale when it comes to pre-draft hype.

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