NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports that the Detroit Lions have been found guilty of tampering with the Kansas City Chiefs. Their punishment for the tampering charge is forfeiting their seventh-round pick (one they acquired from the Denver Broncos via the Alphonso Smith-Dan Gronkowski trade) and swapping fifth-round picks with the Chiefs.
The Chiefs' accusation of tampering against the Lions first came out last December when a charge was filed against Detroit. What the charge was specifically over wasn't made clear, but it was believed to have something to do with Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.
As it turns out, Cunningham's comments to the Detroit Free Press (that were made during the 2009 season but not published until February 2010) were the source of the tampering charge, according to La Canfora. Here is the quote from the Free Press' original article (which is no longer online):
"[The Chiefs] keep wanting to dump players," defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said late last season. "I would like to be there to catch a lot of them, because I know a couple of those guys."
Despite an NFL spokesman telling Tom Kowalski that Cunningham's comments didn't even register at the league level because no specific players were mentioned, the Lions are now down a draft pick because of a comment made a long time ago. Had Cunningham outright named a player that he wanted, that would be grounds for tampering. This seems like a strong punishment for such a small comment, though.
Both the Lions and Chiefs have until Feb. 28 to file an appeal about this ruling.