GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFAN/AP) — Michael Philbin, son of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, was found dead in a Wisconsin river, police confirmed Tuesday.
Divers recovered his body from the Fox River near the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus on Monday. Players and personnel were reportedly told the identity of the body yesterday.
News of Michael Philbin’s disappearance and death made for a difficult day in Green Bay, where the Packers are preparing for Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Giants at Lambeau Field.
“Our prayers go out to the Philbin family and Packer nation for their loss,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck tweeted.
Police had been searching for the 21-year-old since Sunday evening. He disappeared at about 2 a.m. Sunday after an outing with friends in the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus area, about 50 miles from Green Bay.
An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday. Results are not expected for at least a month. Oshkosh police Chief Scott Greuel said Tuesday they suspect no foul play.
He said they delayed releasing Philbin’s identity out of respect for his family’s privacy and because there’s no threat to public safety. Greuel declined to release any details of how Philbin became separated from his friends, saying the investigating continues.
Michael Philbin is the second-oldest of six children to Joe Philbin and his wife, Diane. He was sentenced to six months in jail in 2009 after he was convicted of sexually assaulting two young girls.
“The Philbin family’s obviously going through a tough time right now, and as we always have, we’re a family-first philosophy with our organization, with our program,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday afternoon. “So we’re supporting Joe and his family the best we can.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Philbin family during this difficult time,” Packers general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement.
McCarthy spoke in a somber tone during his regularly scheduled news conference, confirming that Philbin was away from the team.
Although the offensive-minded McCarthy calls his own plays and has a hands-on role with game planning, Philbin’s behind-the-scenes detail work with Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense would be missed. McCarthy said he has contingency plans in place to prepare for Sunday’s game if Philbin remains away from the team.
“We’re prepared to do whatever we need to do as a staff to make sure our team’s ready to go,” he said, brushing aside a question about what the team would be missing if it didn’t have Philbin’s input this week. “We’ll be ready to go.”
Players, who were not made available to reporters, took to Twitter to post supportive messages.
“As children we all have to someday say goodbye to our parents, but a parent should never have to say goodbye to their child,” said offensive lineman T.J. Lang, whose father, Thomas, died last week.
Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji wrote that “life is too short.”
“Live in the present,” Raji tweeted.
Joe Philbin has been with the Packers since 2003, and has been the team’s offensive coordinator since 2007. He interviewed for the Miami Dolphins’ vacant head coaching job last week.
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