By: Terry Foster
The Lions need a running back.
Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon is a running back that can help this team. The question is whether he’s worth the headaches, bad publicity and grief. The answer is no.
Mixon is the young man shown punching a woman in the face where she sustained four broken bones. He was suspended a year from the University of Oklahoma football team, but was allowed to play last season where he rushed for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The story turns into one of he/said, she/said. The woman Amelia Molitor claims Mixon used a gay slur toward her friend and Mixon was trying to convince Molitor to come home with him. Mixon claims she attacked him and used a racial slur. He got mad and clocked her, causing her face to slam into a table.
The NFL draft is a few weeks away and this town desperately wants the Lions to win playoff games and many believe a solid running game to take pressure off quarterback Matthew Stafford is key. Ameer Abdullah is injury prone and must prove he can hang on to the football. Players in the dressing room keep telling me that Theo Riddick is the real deal but he might be better suited as a slot receiver.
The Lions have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush in 2013. And he barely reached that milestone with 1,006 yards.
The Lions running game last prospered in 1998, the year Barry Sanders retired.
It is a desperate organization with one particular need of desperation. Mixon could fix it.
As tempting as Mixon is, the Lions should pass on him. The team should send a message that it cares about domestic violence and that women’s safety is important. The team is owned by Martha Firestone Ford and I am sure she is uncomfortable with the situation.
Winning is important. But at what cost?
Let Mixon play some place else.
Mixon is a first-round talent whose stock dropped after the video was released. That shows the power of videos. It will be interesting to see what he falls because the rest of the league is hesitant now.
Any team that selects him will be getting a good talent. But it will also be getting a public relations night mare as it tries to explain to its fan base why an abuser was placed on the roster. He was suspended his freshman season and entered an Alfred Plea to assault and served 100 hours of community service and underwent counseling. The Alfred plea means he does not admit to guilt but believes the prosecution could prove its case.
NFL teams will say that the incident happened over a year ago and that he seems like a changed person. Oklahoma coaches have vouched for him to the league and contend he is a changed person. Everybody is looking for their Ezekiel Elliott.
But once again. At what cost?