Inside The Numbers On Lions' Arrests

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Nick Fairley #98 of the Detroit Lions runs off the field during a NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers won 29-15 (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

It has not been a good offseason for a select group of Detroit Lions players, at least when it comes to off-field issues. The Lions have had a total of five arrests this offseason involving their players, all of whom belong to the 2011 draft class. This has prompted a lot of talk about the Lions having a discipline problem, so I decided to dive into the San Diego Union-Tribune's NFL arrests database, which goes back to 2000, in hopes of shedding some light on how bad this offseason has really been for the team. After the jump are some interesting stats that I discovered while looking through the database.

What does all of this mean? For starters, there are a lot of players in the NFL who can't stay out of trouble. What about for the Lions specifically? Well, it depends on your point of view. On the one hand, even with the bad offseason, the Lions have only had 12 arrests involving players since 2000, which still puts them among the best in the NFL. Teams like the Vikings and Bengals have had constant off-field issues for more than a decade now, whereas the Lions' alarming issues have basically been confined to the last four months. What's more, two players are responsible for all but one of the Lions' arrests, so it's not as if there are five different players who have been in trouble.

The flip side is that the Lions' recent issues could be a sign of trouble rather than a brief slip-up. Obviously, it's too early to tell if this is truly the case, but you could certainly make an argument that the Lions' character gambles in the 2011 NFL Draft are coming back to haunt them, especially when you factor in Titus Young's alleged sucker punch on Louis Delmas a couple weeks back.

So which side of the argument is right? It really just depends on how you view things. Personally, the recent run-ins with the law do concern me, especially because Leshoure and Fairley have had multiple incidents. They obviously didn't learn the first time, which is troubling. At the same time, I find the idea that the Lions are a team full of criminals and miscreants to be extremely off base. While the arrests have been a problem this offseason, the fact of the matter is they've been limited to a very small part of the team (3.33 percent of the 90-man roster, to be exact). Labeling the Lions as the new Bengals isn't a fair assertion.

The most important thing for the Lions right now is that they need to make sure this ends up being a brief slip-up in an otherwise good track record. If it starts to become a regular thing where multiple players are consistently getting in trouble off the field over an extended period of time, then some of the comparisons to the Bengals (or Vikings, for that matter) will be fair. For now, this is merely a slip-up, but how the Lions conduct themselves in the coming months will ultimately determine whether or not it remains a slip-up or turns out to be the start of a bigger problem.

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