Packers TE Andrew Quarless back at training camp after death of daughter

Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless revealed Monday he missed the first two days of training camp because his daughter died at birth last week.

Quarless had initially been excused from the first practice of camp on Thursday for what coach Mike McCarthy termed “a positive personal situation.” The coach’s tone changed ominously the following day when Quarless was again absent, saying the sixth-year tight end was dealing with “a very difficult family situation.”

On Monday, after fully participating in his first practice of camp, Quarless shared the devastating news.

“This past Wednesday, July 29, I lost my daughter on delivery,” Quarless told reporters, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Probably the saddest day of my life. I thank this team for the type of support they have given me to help me get through this. Just very thankful for these guys. It’s really a family in here.

Quarless did acknowledge that returning to football had been something of a safe haven.

“I (was) looking forward my first day getting back out there today. It felt real good. It felt real good just to get out there, catch some passes, be able to run around a little bit, kind of get back to your old self and get back into things.

“The most important thing was my son was able to come out there. He was really looking forward to being a big brother,” Quarless said. “Today was rough. I’m a little drained. I was drained the past couple of days. … being around my teammates having fun and actually smile, actually to smile and be happy, that was good for me.”

Quarless’ teammates may not know exactly what he’s going through, but they are still there offering support.

“Whatever he needs we will help him out with,” Micah Hyde said. “We’re a family in here. I know a lot of teams say that, but we are. We are with each other all the time to hang out. It’s not like we’re in — name a big city. It’s literally Green Bay, so we don’t have much to do here. We hang out with each other. We are definitely like a family here.”

Quarless had been looking forward to his daughter’s birth, especially in the wake of his July 4 arrest in Miami Beach, Florida, on a misdemeanor gun charge. He allegedly fired two shots into the air after an argument with a group of women, according to police. He pleaded no contest last month and is due in court on Aug. 24.

Asked how his conversation went with McCarthy after his arrest, Quarless replied, “He was very upset. Very upset. I just apologized to him for bringing negativity to this place. We have a great group of character guys. There’s just so much character in this locker room. I just apologized for bringing negative because you never want to bring negative to something like this.”

Quarless said McCarthy then told him to “just focus, don’t be too hard on yourself” and to learn from his mistake.

Now that he’s back among his teammates, Quarless appreciates the support they’re giving him.

“It’s been a lot,” said Quarless. “It’s been a lot. As you grow older as a man, you really understand life and you really understand things. I’m so appreciative of this team. Even from the incident earlier in the month, there’s just been so much support. More than I feel like sometimes I might deserve.

“Just the amount of love from everybody, it’s really been good for me. It’s hard to explain how much that means to me. I’m just thankful. It really helps you put things in perspective. In my head right now, you really can’t take anything for granted.

“My whole mindset about life has kind of changed a lot. With my daughter, I promise you, I was looking (to find) a little bit of happiness in my daughter. You just can’t take life for granted.”