After making the playoffs for the first time in the current millennium, the Detroit Lions haven’t enjoyed the positive publicity that usually accompanies a quick turnaround in the standings.
Instead stories of troubling transgression and team turmoil have polluted the news wire.
The Lions – both players and coaches – have been vague in addressing these issues, causing them to resonate throughout newspaper columns and water-cooler conversations alike.
Beginning with Fairley, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham did not shy away from the topic. Instead of dodging the question, the well-respected coordinator explained he has become personally invested in the situation.
“I kind of committed myself, as much as I possibly can,” said Cunningham. “Personally I told him wherever he is I’m going to find him. If I have to go see his family, whatever I have to do to get him squared away…He knows, this is going to be personal between the two of us. I say that like a father, I’m going to do whatever I can to help him.”
Fairley, who received “tongue lashings” from others, received a much different approach from the team’s highest ranking defensive coach.
“I took the approach that I’m going to take care of him,” said Cunningham.
Young, who has been placed under a microscope after reports alleged physical violence between the receiver and safety Louis Delmas during a team workout, addressed the media for the first time today.
Young was absent for the first week of OTAs after the incident but claimed the time away from the team allowed him to reflect and will help him move on.
“Anytime you get time away from a situation, whether it’s a relationship, whether it’s football, whether it’s interviewing, you get times to see what’s really important and put things in perspective,” said Young. “Time heals all wounds, I believe, so anytime you go through anything you may need some time off to sit back think and reflect and think about the city of Detroit, think about the kids who wish they were in my position right now, think about owner of the organization, Mr. Ford, think about what he invested in me.”
Young showed no lingering affects of the incident in practice this week, where he worked hard, looked good and was seen positively interacting with teammates.
There were several incidents during one seven-on-seven drill where Young and cornerback Aaron Berry battled for a ball in the air. After the drill, both players were on the sidelines, smiling and chatting with one another.
These positive interactions affirm Young’s claim that he wants to leave the past in the past. Something he attempted to accomplish in a statement after an offensive meeting last week.
“I felt personally, it was important for me to get it off my chest and get the burden off of my heart,” said Young. “Just seeing the guys and coming back and feeling a little uneasy… I’ve never been the type of guy to elaborate on things and let things in the past hold me back but this is a family here and what he have going on is bigger than any individual player.”
The Lions have internally addressed these issues and all evidence indicates that they have moved on. They are hoping that the rest of us follow suit.