Lions Notebook: Good news and bad news

The bad news for the Detroit Lions is that they will be without Pro Bowl tackle Shaun Rogers for the next four games. He has been suspended by the NFL after testing positive for a banned substance. The good news? At least Rogers seems to care about keeping his weight under control. More news and player notes inside.

Consider it a good news/bad news story.

The bad news for the Detroit Lions is that they will be without Pro Bowl tackle Shaun Rogers for the next four games. He has been suspended by the NFL after testing positive for a banned substance.

The good news for the Lions is that Rogers, who has battled weight problems and over-eating since he arrived in the NFL six years ago, apparently really does care about keeping his weight under control. It was an appetite suppressant that got him in trouble with the NFL.

Rogers has not been accessible to the media since the suspension came to light Tuesday but his agent, Kennard McGuire, told the Detroit Free Press that Rogers made an honest mistake when he bought an over-the-counter dietary supplement to help him combat his late-night eating habits and also sleep apnea.

"It was a combination of things that led to him going through the process," McGuire said. "He wanted to make sure that he kept his weight and everything under control. He took an over-the-counter GNC supplement that he was really unaware was one of the forbidden substances."

The four-game suspension means that Rogers will miss the Lions' games against the New York Jets, Atlanta, San Francisco and Arizona. He will be eligible to return for the Thanksgiving Day game against Miami.

And, while he will be missed, coach Rod Marinelli preferred not to make his absence a major issue.

"Sometimes there is a stone in my shoe, sometimes there's a rock in my shoe," Marinelli said. "I took the rock out of my shoe and put it right there. I said, '(That's) the problem, but it's over here and we can't deal with it now so I'm going over here and I'm going to work with these guys. That's how I do business."

In other words, the Lions will get by without Rogers one way or the other.

The absence of Rogers leaves the Lions without one of the NFL's most dominating defensive linemen, although he did not always play up to his reputation.

After two quarterback sacks in the season opener against Seattle this year, Rogers dropped back under the radar, making only occasional plays against constant double teams. He re-surfaced in the 20-17 victory over Buffalo last Sunday (the Lions' first win of the season) with an outstanding performance that included a sack.

The Lions already were playing without defensive tackle Shaun Cody, who is out indefinitely with a dislocated left big toe and with Rogers out for four games, they will have a serious challenge putting together an effective defensive line.

Coach Rod Marinelli already had juggled his personnel up front, moving Rogers from under tackle to nose tackle and moving Cory Redding from left end to under tackle. It appears now that Redding will stay at the under tackle, playing beside Marcus Bell on the nose. That leaves Marinelli with two players to rotate in at tackle and end -- Jared DeVries and Tyoka Jackson.

McGuire said Rogers will spend his four weeks of suspension taking care of a knee injury that has bothered him since training camp.

SERIES HISTORY: 11th game in the series, with the Lions holding a 6-4 advantage. The Lions are 2-0 in games against the Jets played at the Meadowlands but the Jets won the most recent game between the two teams, 31-14, at Ford Field four years ago.

Teammates React

Although one of their teammates -- defensive tackle Shaun Rogers -- was suspended for four games for what has been initially interpreted as an innocent mistake in taking a banned substance, the Lions players were reluctant to condemn the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Quarterback Jon Kitna was asked if he felt the league's rules governing over-the-counter medication or supplements are too strict.

"I don't know that it's too stringent nowadays in sports with all the steroids and that stuff," Kitna said. "You want to make sure you have a clean game. Unfortunately, I think some guys take the fall that maybe aren't necessarily trying to skirt the rules but on the basis of each case -- case by case -- how do you know? The rules are the rules."

Tight end Marcus Pollard was not critical of the NFL rules but noted that it is frequently next to impossible to know what is actually included in some of the over-the-counter supplements that players ingest.

"Most guys assume that it's safe if you buy it over the counter," Pollard said. "You're not going to some dark alley picking something up. Most guys will assume it's pretty safe."

And he said the list of banned substances that is available to players isn't very helpful.

"You can't read it," he said. "It's in Greek. If they had on the bottle what it's called in the bottle and this stuff is in this bottle, it would make it easy. They don't tell you the product; they just tell you the ingredients."


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