NFL suspends Lions RB Mikel Leshoure two games; docks him two additional game checks

Posted by ttwentyman on June 13, 2012 – 3:41 pm

The NFL has handed down a two-game suspension to Lions running back Mikel Leshoure today for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. He will also be docked two additional game checks.

Leshoure will be eligible to return to the Lions’ active roster on Monday, Sept. 17 following the team’s September 16 game against the 49ers.

“We support the Commissioner’s decision regarding Mikel and appreciate the dialogue that we have had with the League office concerning the matter,” Lions president Tom Lewand said.

“As we have previously stated, we expect every member of our organization to uphold a greater standard of behavior. If that standard is not upheld, those responsible will be held accountable.

“Our belief and expectation is that Mikel will continue to learn from this experience and use it as positive motivation moving forward.”

The second-year running back was cited twice this offseason for marijuana possession just weeks apart.

Leshoure pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in March, paid a $575 fine and said he was ready to put the matter behind him.

Unfortunately, he won’t be able to do that now until at least Week 3 of the regular season. Leshoure will miss the Lions’ Week 1 opener against the Rams at home and a Sunday Night prime time matchup against the 49ers in Week 2. Leshoure won’t be eligible to return until Week 3 when the Lions face the Titans in Nashville.

Leshoure will be allowed to participate in training camp and the preseason.

Leshoure missed all of his rookie season after tearing his Achilles tendon early in training camp last year. He expects to be 100-percent by the start of the regular season and will now have an extra two weeks to get ready.

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley also faces suspension after he was arrested for marijuana possession and DUI this offseason. Fairley’s DUI case is still working its way through the legal system, which is why the NFL has made no announcements on his possible suspension.

“Everybody makes mistakes — not everybody makes two mistakes in a row,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday when asked if offseason instances like this can be a wake-up call for players. “But if they learn their lesson and that’s the wake-up call and if that changes the way they conduct themselves and they’re able to have a successful career because of it, at least you turned something positive out of it.”

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Lions GM Martin Mayhew says the ball is in everyone’s court to get deal done with Avril

Posted by ttwentyman on June 13, 2012 – 10:36 am

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has been through tough negotiations before and says there’s a process to long-term contract talks like the ones the Lions are currently having with defensive end Cliff Avril.

“I’ve been through this before,” Mayhew told reporters before Wednesday’s minicamp practice. “There’s no panic button. We don’t panic. The plan is to get a long-term deal done with him and the (franchise) tender is out there and has always been available.”

The Lions have until July 16 to negotiate a long-term deal or Avril will be required to play the 2012 season under the one-year $10.6 million franchise tag.

“There’s a lot that goes on with that,” Mayhew said of the negotiations. “It’s a very complicated deal. It takes time to get some of these deals done. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised it’s not done now. I think its very complex and those guys are doing an outstanding job continuing to have dialogue.”

Lions president Tom Lewand has been the lead negotiator on the deal with Avril’s agent Brian Mackler, but Mayhew said he’s had dialogue with both.

“There’s a lot of dialogue that goes on. I think Tom has done an outstanding job with that. Brian Mackler is doing an outstanding job. I think Cliff is being very level headed.

“I don’t think the ball is in anybody’s court. The ball is in everybody’s court.  We’re trying to get a long-term deal done with Cliff. It’s a process.”

The clock is ticking a little more than a month from the deadline.

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