Monday, May 21, 2012
Lions waiting for Titus Young to grow up
By Kevin Seifert
It's not unusual for NFL teammates to fight behind closed doors, be it in a locker room or on the practice field or even on the sideline during games. Typically, such incidents are written off as heat-of-the-moment outbursts and go minimally punished, if at all.
So the news that the Detroit Lions banned receiver Titus Young from their facility Monday should resonate loudly with both Young and anyone interested in his future with the franchise.
Titus Young reportedly punched teammate Louis Delmas during a workout last week.
As Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com reports, the Lions did not allow Young to participate in Monday's organized team activity because he fought last week with safety Louis Delmas during a workout. Details of the episode are sketchy, but obviously the Lions did not classify it as a boys-will-be-boys incident -- especially not when it involved a player whose immaturity was obvious as a rookie last season.
Young was benched during a Week 13 game against the New Orleans Saints after he committed a costly personal foul. You might remember veteran center Dominic Raiola getting in Young's face afterward, repeatedly yelling for him to "Grow up!" -- with a few expletives mixed in. It was in many ways the symbol of a young(er) team that struggled to respond to the pressures of a playoff race.
It sounds like the Lions are still trying to get that message across. According to Richardson, Young instigated the fight by landing a punch when Delmas wasn't looking. Sucker-punching a team leader isn't generally suggestive of a maturing second-year player, and it's not surprising that the Lions essentially kicked Young out of the building as a result.
We'll never know if the team would have reacted the same way during the season. Everything going on is voluntary, and no one is keeping score. Even with the selection of receiver Ryan Broyles in the second round of last month's draft, the Lions are counting heavily on Young to be part of their three- and four-receiver sets. He has a unique skill set that isn't matched on their roster.
It's one thing to give a 22-year-old rookie some leeway while he adjusts to NFL life. Young doesn't turn 23 until August, but he's no longer a rookie, and it's fair to expect him to act like a professional. Sucker-punching Louis Delmas? If the report is accurate, that's a punk move.
Delmas is known to be volatile as well, but his appearance in Monday's OTA indicates the Lions don't hold him responsible for the incident.
Broyles practiced Monday for the first time since having knee surgery six months ago, and he'll be ready to contribute at some point in the 2012 season. I don't think the Lions are interested in moving on without Young, but everyone runs out of chances sometime. The Lions aren't interested in a repeat of the discipline and growing pains they endured in 2011. It's time for Titus Young to "Grow the [expletive] up."