The recent rash of NFL player arrests could result in a wide array of discipline from Commissioner Roger Goodell when the 2012 season gets under way.
But the Detroit Lions issued a preemptive strike on troubled cornerback Aaron Berry. After Monday morning discussions, the team has released Berry, according to a report from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The undrafted third-year defensive back out of Pittsburgh faces three charges of simple assault following an incident over the weekend. The arrest was Berry’s second of this offseason and the seventh by a Lions player since the Super Bowl. Berry was arrested on DUI and hit-and-run charges last month and last week waived his preliminary hearing.
“We have repeatedly stressed to everyone in our organization that there will appropriate consequences when an expected standard of behavior is not upheld,” Lions president Tom Leward said in a statement.
Last week, after Berry waived the preliminary hearing for his DUI charges, his attorney, Corky Goldstein, said the cornerback would submit to an alcohol evaluation as part of Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, as reported by the Free Press.
“He’s taking responsibility,” Goldstein said. “His insurance is taking care of any damage to his car and damage to the two unattended cars, so that’ll be taken care of. And he’ll get into that ARD program probably sometime in January because they’re so backed up and he’ll be in that for six months.”
Berry’s second arrest is only the latest in an offseason filled with arrests in Detroit and across the NFL. Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (DUI, possession of marijuana), running back Mikel Leshoure (marijuana possession) and offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath (marijuana possession). Leshoure was suspended for the first two games of the regular season and more discipline could be on the way.
The Detroit Lions are suddenly making the Cincinnati Bengals look debonair.
Late last week Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was arrested on a DWI charge after he tried to enter an army base in Kentucky. In the last month alone, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with resisting arrest, Denver Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil was charged for allegedly pulling out a gun during a traffic dispute, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was arrested for another DUI and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant turned himself in after he allegedly assaulted his mother.
Last week Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton attempted to explain the rise in offseason NFL arrests by drawing a comparison to soldiers returning from war.
“It’s basically slightly civilized war, and then they take that into society, much as soldiers come back, and they’ve been in combat or the edge of it and then suddenly that adjustment back to civilian life is a real challenge,” Dayton said during an interview with Minnesota Public Radio.
Does Detroit’s swift move to jettison Berry translate as a serious warning for the rest of the locker room that could trigger a culture change? Or will the arrests continue to pile up in Detroit and around the league during the “idle” period between the Super Bowl and training camp?