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Lewand: ‘Those guys that were in last year’s draft class have a lot of work to do’

Posted by ttwentyman on April 9, 2012 – 9:06 pm

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.”

On the new four-year partnership with WXYZ-TV Channel 7:

“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.”


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 21 Comments »


21 Responses to “Lewand: ‘Those guys that were in last year’s draft class have a lot of work to do’”

  1. By JP O'Flaherty on Apr 9, 2012 | Reply

    I totally agree with Mr.Lewand that young people make mistakes that need to be used as an educational experience. However, it is a shame that Two Top Draft picks who contributed Nothing last year, possibly will NOT again this year, possibly forcing a change in their plans for the draft. As a longtime Loyal Lions fan, I would appreciate Mr. Mayhew and Coach Swartz doing more investigation into the character of the men the recruit, so that they will not put the Lions in the mold of the Raiders. These men bargain, wheel and deal with the clubs to make them multi-millionaires, and they should be held to a much higher standard than most people. If they want to “Party” they shouldn’t be treated as “Special”, and allowed to disgrace the rest of their teammates because of their ignorance.

  2. By Troy on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    I agree with the above. Its not making the mistake thats unforgivable, but what if they didnt get caught? They would keep doing it until they do. They are millionaire adults now, not bored little teenagers living with mommy. If you have drugs in your vehicle the chances are high that you will get pulled over and when you do everyone around you suffers…these suspensions could be as much as 8 games for Mikel, that is a risk that he was willing to take….TWICE! I would cut him and draft another back…he should be a goner! Twice in a month? CUT HIM!

  3. By fred on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    i dont think ANYONE expected that kind of feedback. a slap on the wrist? seriously? Granted he did give the “we all make mistakes” speech, but he might as well have added “hey, kids will be kids”. But maybe, just maybe he is pushing it aside because he wants to be blind to the misconduct for the draft. Maybe he wants people to believe it’s not an issue so he can focus on a different area come draft time and surprise us all. But if this is the last we hear about ‘discipline’ on thhe Lions end, I would really question what that shows to the rest of the team. players will learn the importance of “don’t get caught” and “it’s okay to make mistakes, off and on the field”

  4. By jack ostrander on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    Every one has smoked Pot. but everyone should be smart.
    When going partying , chaseing girls, drinking, pay for drivers. take you and then take you home or hotel. you are a millionaire. this is easy.
    Smoke Pot in your room not in your car. but don,t forget they are checking you for sample of your pee during NFL Season.
    What is the Doctors report on Best. one more game before out of NFL.
    We don,t hear anything about this..
    Cliff/ rumor england wants him for a second round pick. get rid of him he isn,t worth 10.5 million and hurting the cap…

  5. By stephanie on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    Its time for these superstars to grow up and face their responsibilites as men and not college ref raf.

  6. By wajiboy on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Jim get rid of that Avril and get that third round pick from the Vikings this guy is just about money and he not everything he makes himself out to be.

  7. By wajiboy on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    If I was the in charge of the management this Avril guy would be traded real quick. So he had that many sacks be deal you can get a couple decent players on offense and we already got enough on the other side of the ball in his postion that you won’t even notice much. But the thing you will notice is that we have a better OL and running game if you make a move for the 3 round pick. He is stealing our money just like a pervious QB did and that was for about 40 milllion. Does this sound familar to you. If he doesn’t want to participate then trade him. Are you forgeting that Matt and Ndamnakon contracts will be up and they will want more money too. So now while you can get more and have more money left over trade him ok.

  8. By phil on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    I’m sick and tired of hear/seeing people say that Avril isnt worth the money. 1st he’s the best rush end we’ve had since Porcher, you remember Porcher dont you? Oh, you was in the closet or had a bag over your head during that era, well let me tell you, he’s the BEST DE in LIONS history!! We drafted Cliff in the 2nd round, so you wanna trade him for a 2nd rounder and what??? hope we strike gold again!?! People want us to be BIG spenders in FA but we’ve done that…remember D.Woody, D.Bly, F.Bryant??? Bust, bust, and bust!!! Ther’s too many fans who think like Millen! you seen where that got us!
    Look at the contributors from last yr, almost all of them WE drafted, Stafford, Calvin, Best, K.Smith, Suh, Avril, Delmas, Levy, Young, Fairley. the FA’s Burelson, Tulloch, C.Williams, KVB, Houston, R.Sims. you tell me where the talent is?

  9. By john on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    Porcher was surely great, but so were Gil Mains and Darris McCord.

  10. By orrin on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    are you kidding me, R.Porcher was FANtastic, he didn’t have a SUH in the middle,Porcher did it on he’s own, not saying Avril isn’t worth 10 mil.but let’s see it, at 10 mill. he should be LT, when you have players like SUH,KVB garnering attention, you better have 11 sacks & more,which he did, but he should have been better agaisnt the run, this year will prove to everybody just how good Avril is, both sides are at an impasse, so will see.GOT to remember we also have Willie Young, who is FASTER, he’s our replacement for KVB when he steps down,not for a couple years yet,Lewand,Mayhew & Schwartz got there heads together,know what there doing and the direction they want OUR TEAM, smart not to go nuts on FA, there’s a couple we can get at DB,so called medical issues, our whole issue now is to own the NORTH, knock off GB,BEARS and don’t think MINN. won’t make noise, they will, we brought back 21 of 22 players, thats a GREAT off season, we played well together before mid season injuries, we just didn’t have ample back-up, but we will by the start of this season., Schwartz will have a great rotating situation with startes coming in & out for 2 squads.

  11. By Rob on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    Avril is good, but playing next to Suh helped alot. With Suh soaking up the double on every play, Avril always had one on one with the tackle. Just sayin

  12. By Josh on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    Not overly concerned about these guys getting busted. None of it was for major amounts of pot so its not like they are trying to be dealers. Getting caught twice is pretty dumb cause you would hope that you could learn a lesson. Pot isn’t really even a drug anyways. Just have to hope these guys are committed to the team. We shall see I suppose.

  13. By phil on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    Nobody was good against the run last year, but I’d put most if not all the blame on that stupid WIDE-9. That defense is sucks!!! They say it’s about getting to the QB and getting pressure. Well B.Smith, R.White, D.Jones, M Strahan and DL of yesterday who are at the top of the all-time sack list, they didnt play WIDE-9. Lets go back to a traditional DL scheme and let our Bigger, Stronger, Younger athletes dominate the opposition! Unless they can figure out a way to play WIDE-9 and not allow 195 yards rushing, I’d scrap that scheme.
    FWIW Willie Young is gonna be a beast, maybe even better than Avril IMO from what I saw last year, he’s relentless. I’d start him over KVB, since they already limit his reps after his neck surgury.

  14. By Big buck on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    Young guys with money are going to make mistakes and they will either learn from them or they will end up out of the league. As far as Averil goes I would take anything close to a 2ND round pick for the guy.He would fit perfect in a New England 3/4 and they might be willing to part with a 2ND round pick. Guys like Willie Young And Lawrence can rush the passer. He seems to be all about the money right now and he wouldn’t get anything close to the 10 million range from teams like New England. You can find guys in the 3-5 round who can rush the passer and would cost you a 1/3 of what he wants. I would love to keep him but you can’t tie up that much money on a D line that was average at best with him last year. I would rather had that money spent on a premier Left tackle that is going to step in and replace Backus.

  15. By Bigbadcarl92 on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    #nuff said#

  16. By Bigbadcarl92 on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    I sense a sensor block on my comment. I don’t like your leadership Lewan.

  17. By Don on Apr 12, 2012 | Reply

    I also have to agree with most everyone here that Avril is good. However I do believe that we can get another pass rusher that can do the Job and Maybe even Better. avril could have had about 5 or 6 more Sacks last year if he did’nt get called for a horse coller. And Willie Yong is a Beast! and he is going to be a big one and a Real good one. But he also has to stay out of the QBs Neck line. Don’t get Me wrong I like Avril I think he is a great guy and seems to be a happy dude. probably a Good teamate But, $10,000,000 I like Avril but I do wonder if he would have those kind of Numbers if he were on the Browns.
    Or Miami? Or Like before we built up the defence. Or before he learned all that he learned from this Team and these TEAM mates. and coach’s.
    And I liked what lewand had to say. Hey I know that these men got payed well but they did work for it, weather they were Smoking the hooch or not.
    And It’s not so easy to just put something down just Like that when you have been doing it for so long. Yep, all that Partying you would think should come to an end sooner or Later, But it’s Like the guy said Most people don’t deal with it until they have too. These Guy’s have to be giving it some seriuos thought NOW! I hope for thier sakes and the TEAMS and thier children in the Future and the Kids that are Looking up to them Now.
    I hope that they do the responsible thing and give it up.
    A lot of people say that there is Nothing wrong with it. And I do think that it helps people that are in a lot of pain like cancer patients and like that.
    But, for the Average Person if youthink about it I bet it is More trouble that it is really worth.
    What I want to know is who else is getting caught with it in the NFL?
    Why is it the LIons Rookies that are all getting Popped? Tell me that there arent Pot smokersall aound this League? Not that I want anyone getting busted! But Why the run on our TEAM? OH, the Lions are getting good or better. lets pop some of thier players for useing Pot!
    GO LIONS!

  18. By Don on Apr 12, 2012 | Reply

    OH, I am not condoning the use of pot! Or the disuse of it.
    OH nevermind !

  19. By Kevin on Apr 12, 2012 | Reply

    Twentyman – why are you capitalizing the word, “marijuana”?

  20. By Chuck on Apr 16, 2012 | Reply

    Phil and Orrin,
    You may want to look up a fella name of Bubba Baker, Porcher was a great Lion. Bubba was an absolute terror for a short time, and he left over money. I like Cliff but he’s undersized and pretty much a one trick pony,productive in this system with the surrounding talent. There’s no way you build a defense around him.

  21. By Detroit Lions #1 on May 3, 2012 | Reply

    I’d like to know what the punishment is going to be for these guys. Just get it out of the way.

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