The Lions get back to work next Monday for the first day of the offseason training program.
Nick Fairley, Mikel Leshoure and Johnny Culbreath are all expected to be among those participating in the workouts. All three have also made news this offseason for legal troubles involving Marijuana.
Culbreath was arrested in January for possession of Marijuana, Leshoure was cited twice for Marijuana possession in less than a month and Fairley was pulled over and arrested for Marijuana possession last Tuesday.
The Lions issued a statement last week expressing their disappointment with both Fairley and Leshoure, but Lions president Tom Lewand spoke about those incidents in more detail Monday with Mike O’Hara and Ken Brown on WJR.
“We expressed disappointment last week and I continue to express disappointment that guys put themselves in the position where they have to have an unpleasant interaction with law enforcement,” Lewand said. “That is something that should be avoided.
“But as we all know from life’s experiences, it happens, people make mistakes, and you want to give guys opportunities to correct those mistakes, learn from them and move forward.”
Lewand expects that process to begin next week when the team gets together for the training program.
“Those guys that are in last year’s draft class have a lot of work to do and that work starts next week,” he said. “They have to come in and begin to really take on the responsibility as members of the Detroit Lions that we’re expecting them to take to help us get to the next level.”
While disappointed those players put both themselves and the organization in a bad light with their actions, Lewand certainly isn’t ready to give up on them.
“In the case of all of our guys, they are good guys, and we still have to remember at times — and this is not to excuse anyone’s behavior — but guys are young,” Lewand said. “I think when all of us were in our early 20s the feeling of invincibility was a lot higher than maybe it is today.
“But they have to learn from all of their life experiences, and I’m not necessarily referring to any specific incident in Mikel’s case or Fairley’s case, but guys have to learn. They have to grow and they have to mature, whether that’s off the field or on the field.”
Lewand was then asked if last week’s incidents involving Leshoure and Fairley could have been a result of players having too much time on their hands under the new CBA. In years past, the offseason training program began a month earlier.
“It may be a factor, but I’ll tell you this, we’re not the nanny state,” Lewand said. “The fact that guys get another month off, or last year’s rookie class didn’t have the benefit of a full offseason in the program and some of the rookie education that we do, because of the lockout last year, quite frankly, those to me are a lot of excuses.
“Guys have to be responsible for their actions no matter what time of the year those occur and that’s part of the process of growing up as men, growing up as teammates and growing up as members of the National Football League.
“You are held to a high standard. I know that firsthand (referring to his arrest in 2010 for DUI) and I’ve learned that lesson myself. That’s a lesson we all have to learn and we have to take it to heart when that adversity is there and when we make mistakes we’ve got to learn from them and grow as human beings.”
Lewand also commented on a number of other subjects in the interview:
On the NFL’s decision Monday to uphold the suspensions to the Saints involved in the “bounty” program:
“I think the emphasis the commissioner has put on the health and safety of the players has been paramount and there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to uphold what he had originally levied.”
On Cliff Avril and his ability to participate in the training program if he wanted to without a signed franchise tag tender.
“Anybody who is under a tender of any type, whether its restricted free agent or franchise tag can participate (in offseason program). There’s a waiver they can sign that we have that protects both the club and the player so they can participate fully in the offseason program while they continue to pursue any rights under the system they have as a tendered player.”
On the bogus schedule that was released last week and thought to be a leaked version of the real regular season schedule:
“One of my contacts at the league office said exactly one of the games, even though they don’t have the schedule complete, is accurate. I’ll leave it to you guys to speculate.”
“They did a great job with us last year on the preseason games. We talked a lot during this conversation about the around-the-calendar coverage of the NFL and Channel 7 provides that platform to cover what we’re doing throughout the course of the year, not only on the field, but also off the field and in the community. There’s no better partner to go out in the community with than Channel 7.”
Tags: Cliff Avril, Johnny Culbreath, Mikel Leshoure, Nick Fairley, Tom Lewand
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