Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL [Print without images]

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Cliff Avril: Arrests don't reflect Lions

ESPN.com news services

The Detroit Lions' offseason has been marred by off-field trouble, but defensive end Cliff Avril said Wednesday it's unfair to label his team as troublemakers.

Cornerback Aaron Berry became the fourth Lions player to be arrested this offseason when he was charged last weekend with suspicion of DUI and other misdemeanor charges after he drove his vehicle into several parked cars in Pennsylvania and attempted to flee.

Avril You can't label us by a few young guys getting in trouble.

-- Cliff Avril

"You can't label us by a few young guys getting in trouble," Avril said in an interview Wednesday with "NFL32" on ESPN. "You can't put that on the other 53 guys on the roster. That makes no sense. Obviously they are part of the team, but I don't think it's correct to put that on the other 53 guys who are on the roster."

Berry's arrest continued a troubling recent trend for the Lions.

• Running back Mikel Leshoure was suspended for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Leshoure pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in May.

• Defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested in Alabama on charges of driving under the influence and attempting to elude police in May, his second arrest in his home state in two months. He also was arrested in April for allegedly possessing marijuana.

• Offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath also had a run-in with law enforcement this offseason.

Fairley and Leshoure weren't able to attend the NFL's annual rookie symposium for first-year draftees last year because it was canceled due to the lockout. However, the Lions' website reported Thursday that Fairley had filed a special request with the NFL to go to this year's session, and began attending Wednesday.

The symposium, in its 15th year, is a four-day retreat designed to ease drafted players' transitions from college athletes to paid professionals.

"Nick knows that his actions will speak louder than his words in accepting responsibility and moving forward," Lions president Tom Lewand said on the team's website Thursday. "Asking to attend this year's symposium is clearly a positive action and a step in the right direction."

Avril said he tries to counsel his teammates who have run into trouble.

"Obviously, the guys who had two offenses, it's kind of hard to talk to those guys, but you've got to be supportive of the guys and try to get them on the right track," Avril said.

Avril also commented on his contract status; he still hasn't signed his franchise tender. He said, however, that he was optimistic he and the Lions would be able to agree to a long-term contract by the July 16 deadline for franchise players to agree to multiyear deals.

But he said he's not sure if he'll report to training camp if the sides can't agree to a deal by the deadline.

"If it comes to that, then we'll have to talk about the right thing to do," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.