On Monday, we learned that Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure had been cited twice in the past month for marijuana possession. The second resulted in an arraignment that reportedly is scheduled to take place this week.
As several of you point out, that makes three members of the Lions' 2011 draft class to have marijuana-related legal problems since the end of the season. Offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath paid a fine in January after being charged with misdemeanor possession.
Typically we don't get too worked up about a misdemeanor crime. But three similar incidents in a short period of time reflect poorly on the franchise, and a statement released Tuesday afternoon implies rising concern from the team. It read: "We are aware of the incident involving Nick Fairley. We hold all of our players to a high standard of behavior and the recent charges against Nick and Mikel Leshoure are not consistent with those standards. We are extremely disappointed. We will continue to gather information and will have further comment at the appropriate time."
I don't think these incidents will impact any player's status with the organization. If Culbreath wasn't released or disciplined (publicly), then you wouldn't think that Leshoure or Fairley would. However, all three will be subject to the NFL's substance abuse program, which triggers suspensions on a second offense.
In the end, this is a collection of relatively minor offenses, at least from a legal perspective. But the timing and close proximity suggests the Lions might need a more forceful internal deterrent. To combat post-whistle penalties last season, coach Jim Schwartz instituted an infamous zero-tolerance policy. Perhaps a similar program is necessary now.