Paperless Lions: New Moon on Draft Day over Motown

He's back. Finally. columnist Frank Bunker delivers his (long-awaited) thoughts on the NFL draft and Michigan State prospect Charles Rogers. In spite of some off-the-field concerns, should Rogers become the next Detroit Lion? Bunker shares his analysis.

"Comparisons are odious."

— John Fortescue

The Detroit Lions would be wise to take the star Wide Receiver out of Michigan State University with the #2 pick in the 2003 NFL draft. Players like this guy don’t come down the pike too often, let alone once in a blue moon, if at all on a new moon.

Seriously. If Charles Rogers plays anything like his college resume, he’ll be remembered for the greatness of his NFL exploits on the field. There are only a few players like that who come to mind: Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are three.

The trouble is, this beautiful threesome turns pretty gruesome off the field. Irvin and hotels don’t mix, TO’s ego is as big as Texas, and Moss pushes cops with his car for fun — and seems to get away with it.

For Rogers and his natural gifts and hard-earned abilities, it might be easy to match the career totals of today’s NFL greats. The thing is, the Lions need more than a great football player with their Number One pick.

To change the Detroit Lions history, the Curse, requires the efforts of a real man. A man of character and conviction. A man of integrity. A man who will check his ego and put the team ahead of his own self-interest in his actions on the field and off — all for the good of the team.   


The Detroit Lions don’t need a repetition of a guy I’d leave nameless, but his infamy and the infinite losses he caused are forever remembered. His name was Rogers, too. Reggie Rogers. The Defensive End out of Washington University is remembered for what he did off the field.

Now I don’t know if there’s any relation between the two Rogers, other than they both are first-round NFL talents. Reggie Rogers was taken in the first round in 1987 by the Lions, the seventh player selected overall. Until a recent watered-down urinalysis, Charles Rogers was all but assured of being the second player selected in 2003.

Reggie Rogers began to serve a year in prison and has been trying to repay his debt to society ever since he got so inebriated he drove through a traffic signal and killed three teen-age boys in Pontiac.

Unfortunately for society, and tragically for Reggie Rogers, he continued to suffer the effects of addiction to alcohol. He’s been arrested for DUI at least twice since then, in 1993 and 1997.


Yes, I know the comparison stinks, but it needs to be made. First off, the comparison encapsulates the choices both men make and how they have everything to do with so much more than the course of their own careers and lives.

The results of their choices impact everyone, in the Lions family and throughout the world. For their actions can determine the course of life for the entire community. For evidence, consider what Irvin, Owens, and Moss have done to make this a better world, apart from themselves.

This is not to say Charles Rogers is anything like them off the field or like Reggie Rogers. Nor is Charles Rogers like another star Spartan wide-out, Andre Rison, 5-time NFL Pro-Bowler. These words are intended to say quite the opposite, in fact.

This screed is simply a reminder of what Charles Roger’s life can be. Lions Fans know, Charles Rogers can make all the difference in the world for the Detroit football and for his home state Michigan. Even more, Charles has a chance to make something truly remarkable out of his life — apart from football — where it matters most.


Charles Rogers is a family man, with two children. So, he has all the incentive in the world to put his career ahead of mankind’s more base and selfish natures. As good parents know, to be a father is to be part of the ultimate team — the family.

That job, parenthood, brings the greatest responsibilities of any, for it determines the future of the world. For the sake of his children, I believe Rogers will put them ahead of himself and do all he needs to do in order to be the best dad in the world to them.

The destiny of the Lions, should he become the team’s Number One pick, is up to Charles Rogers — and his teammates. With his talents, there is no mountain Charles Rogers can’t climb. On the way up, he may make the Lions again the most fortunate football team.

For the Detroit Lions, destiny is made and changed and destroyed by our choices. To move forward requires the team, and the players, to make the correct ones on the field and off. That is true for all of us, at all times, for all time.

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