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Lions talks with Goodell about troubled players

The Sports Xchange

--Club president Tim Lewand said he has been in contact with commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the off-field troubles of second-year players Nick Fairley and Mikel Leshoure.

"We have been active in our participation with the league, we've handled the matter internally and we've made our thoughts known publicly about our expectations and the need for accountability and responsibility," Lewand said. "Beyond that, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to comment on details."

Leshoure was arrested twice for marijuana possession charges in Southwest Michigan. He has paid his fines, is enrolled in the NFL's substance abuse program and must pass a court-ordered drug test next year before the issue is fully resolved. Fairley was arrested once for marijuana possession and again Memorial Day weekend for a DUI. He has a court date July 31 in Mobile, Ala. Both players could be suspended up to four games next season.

Leshoure was on the field for OTAs this week but did not participate in any of the drills. He had been doing position drills but he developed soreness in his right ankle.

"That's pretty typical for guys coming off surgery," coach Jim Schwartz said. "His surgically-repaired (left) Achilles is fine. But you tend to over-compensate a little and the other ankle gets sore."

--Running back Jahvid Best just wants to play. He's sick of hearing about and talking about concussions. He understands the risks, but he insists he's not worried.

"I don't know, you just go play football," he said. "There's no real point to thinking about it. I mean, I'm not impaired or anything. I'm pretty sure if there was some real damage going on, I would have physical problems or mental problems. And I have no problems. So I'm not worried about it."

There are a few more hurdles he needs to clear before he will be able to do that. Although he has been a full participant through the organized team activities process and he has looked fresh and fast, he's not been cleared for contact. He won't take that test until right before training camp starts in August.

--Second-year receiver Titus Young spoke to the media Monday for the first time since he sucker-punched teammate Louis Delmas in a voluntary workout.

"Any time you get time away from something, whether in a relationship or football, you get time to see what's really important and put things into perspective," said Young, who missed the first week of OTAs. "Time heals all wounds, I believe. Sometimes you need to sit back, think and reflect. Think about the city of Detroit and people who wish they were in my position. To think about the owner, Mr. (William Clay) Ford and what he's invested in me. You think about a lot of things."

Young stood up before the entire offensive unit last week and apologized for any distraction he may have caused.

"I felt it was important for me to get it off my chest, to get that burden off my heart," he said. "Just seeing the guys, I kind of felt things were uneasy. I felt it was just not right, that my spirit wasn't right. I have never been one to let the past hold me back. But I feel like this is a family here and what we have here is bigger than me."

--Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham wasn't initially enamored with rookie linebacker Tahir Whitehead, but he is now. "Tahir is by far the biggest surprise I've had in quite a while," he said. "Matt Burke (linebackers coach) and the scouts did a great job on him. I kept looking at him and I said, 'Matt, I am not sure.' I have always struggled with linebackers because of the way the college game is (played). But Matt said, 'Gun, I believe this guy can play,' and he was right. He's much better than a fifth-round pick."

--Punter Ryan Donahue, battling veteran Ben Graham for the job, hasn't kicked yet during OTAs. He is working mostly on his own, still coming back from the quadriceps injury that ended his rookie season after eight games. He said he was hopeful of participating fully in the mandatory minicamp next week.

--The Lions didn't seem overly stressed about the possibility of playing with replacement referees next season.

"To be honest, until yesterday I didn't even know that was going on," said quarterback Matthew Stafford. "We're going to play games, that's all I know. And whoever is out there reffing them will be out there reffing them. The guys we know and have been out there in the past, it would be nice to have them out there. But if they are not, then we have to adjust and keep moving."

"He knows this is going to be personal between the two of us. And I say that like a father. I am going to do whatever I can to help him ... I have committed myself as much as I can. I told him, wherever he is I am going to find him. If I have to go see his family, whatever I have to do to get him squared away, that's what I will do." -- Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham on troubled DT Nick Fairley.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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