Lions: Young Apologizes, Fairley With The Team
LARRY LAGE,AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley and wide receiver Titus Young were back on the practice field Tuesday — with security escorts to keep reporters away.
Fairley joined his teammates for a voluntary workout two days after he was arrested in Alabama for the second time in two months. He was charged Sunday with driving under the influence after troopers say he was speeding at 100 mph and didn’t initially stop when they attempted to pull him over. Fairley was also arrested in April on a misdemeanor charge of possessing marijuana.
The 2011 first-round pick shook his head from side to side when asked if he had anything to say after the workout.
Young was prevented from hearing or answering questions from a reporter, but the second-year pro did issue a statement before attending the OTA — in the wake of having punched teammate Louis Delmas earlier this month when the veteran safety wasn’t looking.
“My recent actions have not always been up to the standards the Lions expect or the standards that I expect from myself,” Young said. “I am truly sorry for those times when I didn’t meet those standards.
“My absence from the practice facility and the OTAs last week was necessary for both myself and the team.”
Young’s punch followed the news of three players — Fairley, Mikel Leshoure and Johnny Culbreath — having marijuana-related run-ins with law enforcement earlier this offseason.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said he’s concerned, angry and disappointed that stories about the promising team — coming off its first playoff appearance since the 1999 season — haven’t focused on Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the vast majority of players on the roster who have stayed out of trouble.
“What we have here is a case of a few guys tainting the reputations of a lot of others,” Schwartz said. “The actions of the few have affected the reputation of not just the other guys, but also the organization as a whole, and that’s obviously not a good situation.”
Fairley and Leshoure have had two unwanted interactions with law enforcement, entering their season year in the league.
“There’s some maturing things that go on and some mistakes that guys make that they learn from, but what we have here is a situation that it appears that a couple guys haven’t learned and that is concerning,” Schwartz said. “But they are still young and there’s still a lot in front of them and we are hopeful that they can — with a lot of other means at their disposal — be able to get this under control and be able to put them behind them.”
Young seemed to take a step toward rehabilitating his image with teammates by saying he was sorry after the offense met as a group.
“He just quietly stepped up and as a man took responsibility and apologized,” receiver Nate Burleson said. “Nobody told him to. We were actually getting up to head to the field.”
Even if teammates forgive Fairley, Young, Leshoure and Culbreath — all of whom were drafted last year — for stunting what should’ve been a feel-good offseason for the organization, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may not be as forgiving when he decides how much to punish each of them for their conduct.
Burleson said he along with other veterans and Schwartz can say only so much to help the young players make better decisions.
“With the type of press we’re getting, hopefully the young guys will see that mistakes are not going to get swept under the rug in the NFL — especially with how hard Goodell has been,” Burleson said. “We don’t want to be one of those teams labeled as Bad Boys.”
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