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Cutting Bernard Pierce was Ravens' only real option

3/19/2015
Play2:15
Ravens Release Bernard Pierce After Arrest

Louis Riddick, Ashley Fox and Jarrett Bell react to the news that the Ravens released RB Bernard Pierce hours after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol early Wednesday morning.

Updated: This was updated after the Ravens cut Pierce.

With everything the Baltimore Ravens have said and done this offseason, their only real option was to cut running back Bernard Pierce after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

The Ravens made it clear they have a lower threshold of tolerance for off-the-field behavior. They backed it up when they swiftly parted ways with nose tackle Terrence Cody and cornerback Victor Hampton over the past two months.

Cutting Pierce was the move the Ravens had to make if they wanted to maintain this strong stance on players who get arrested.

Releasing Pierce doesn't send a strong message. Let's be honest: Pierce plummeted to the bottom of the depth chart by the end of the season and is just a notch above Cody and Hampton in terms of importance.

This is about salvaging reputation. Nine members of the Ravens' organization, including eight players, have been arrested in the past 13 months, from Valentine's Day 2014 to St. Patrick's Day 2015.

Three weeks ago, Ravens officials said the five arrests the past offseason were "an aberration." Since that time, two players have been arrested and charged with drunk driving.

It's an embarrassment for a franchise that had very little off-the-field trouble in coach John Harbaugh's first six seasons. A team should be held accountable for the character of the players it signs or drafts. A team should be held even more accountable when those players get arrested and do so at a disturbing rate.

The Ravens established a precedent of holding players to higher standards when they cut Cody and Hampton this offseason. The team announced the release of Cody when an animal abuse investigation had just begun and parted ways with Hampton a day after team officials learned of his drunken driving arrest.

Continuing this hard-line stance is going to be popular among a fan base that is tiring of these incidents. But it sets the Ravens up for a difficult situation if a star player gets in trouble. That's when the decision might not be as black and white.

Pierce made the decision easier with how he mishandled the situation. According to charging documents, Pierce asked the arresting officer if "the incident could be kept off the books."

He also told the arresting officer, "Do you know what happened the last time a Ravens player got a DUI? I'm getting cut tomorrow -- not like you care."

Pierce knew what was going to happen. Let's see if the players currently on the Ravens' roster will learn from their former teammates' mistakes.