Lions Move On Without Rogers

ALLEN PARK - After the verdict was officially delivered, Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci faced an onslaught of questions related to the suspension of receiver Charles Rogers on Wednesday.

Rogers will miss the next four games -- without pay -- after testing positive for substance-abuse.

Mariucci said that despite the absence of Rogers, the team will move on.

"We are not going to have him for four weeks, we know that and he is going to get himself in great shape, get some things squared away and when he comes back he is going to hit it running," said Mariucci. "In the meantime Mike Williams and Kevin Johnson are going to compete for that spot and some playing time whether it's the X or the Zebra (third receiver) and for four weeks we are going to make due without him."

Mariucci will not permanently remove Rogers' spot. According to the coach, that has been earned, and will likely be waiting for Rogers when the third-year player returns.

"No. We are just going to take it one day at a time and one game at a time and see where it takes us and those decisions are made each week," he said.

Immediately following the league's official announcement of Rogers' suspension, the former Michigan State standout addressed the team personally. According to many that are familiar with Rogers, the apology and statement was sincere.

"He told me he wanted to do that when he and I met this morning and I thought that was a good idea," said Mariucci. "He was very sincere and I'll leave it at that. I'm not going to discuss (in detail) what he talked about."

Mariucci did say that despite the distraction, the team will move forward.

"I think this team is pretty darn resistant and pretty darn focused on (Baltimore) right now," Mariucci said. "There was a discussion and things happened today and this team is well aware of it. By tonight, we are going to be over this and through it and our full concentration will be on Baltimore.

"I thought we had a good practice and that's where their minds are right now. That's where it should be - on the next game."

Rogers wasn't as productive as the Lions had hoped in the first three games of the season, tallying just five catches for 77 yards. The team will still need to make up for Rogers' presence on the field, however.

"We will be without him for four weeks so the other guys are going to have to step up and get it done."

As a result, the rookie Williams is expected to see an drastic increase in playing time. Although he will share time with veteran Kevin Johnson, the Lions like a tandem of the rookie and second-year receiver Roy Williams.

"(Mike) is getting more reps at X, so has Kevin," Mariucci said. "Kevin Johnson also backs up Roy at the Z spot. Scottie Vines becomes busier and Eddie Drummond had a lot more work today as well. Between Kevin and Mike, we haven't made any decisions, but we are going to let them compete."

Charles Rogers' Statement
"Most importantly, I want to apologize to my family, my teammates, my coaches, to this organization, the fans and my friends. I will make no excuses for what I did, and I accept full responsibility for my actions. I let down a lot of people, mainly myself.

"I have no choice but to look forward, learn from my mistakes and do everything in my power not to repeat those mistakes. I am still part of this team and this community because Michigan is my home. I am still young and have a lot of football ahead of me.

"I will guarantee you this: when I return, I fully expect to be the player on the field and the person off the field that everyone expected me to be when I was drafted."

Injury UpdateFor Sunday's game against Baltimore (subject to change). QB Jeff Garcia (ankle) and long snapper Don Muhlbach (knee) are out. FB Cory Schlesinger (fibula) is doubtful. CB Andre Goodman (ankle), CB Keith Smith (shoulder), S Vernon Fox (elbow), DE James Hall (groin), and LB Alex Lewis (ankle) are each questionable. K Jason Hanson (hamstring) and DE Cory Redding (elbow) are probable.

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