NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stopped by Detroit Lions training camp on Thursday. The scheduled appearance was part of his training camp tour and wasn't a direct result of the off-field issues Lions players have had this offseason. However, it's no surprise that the off-field issues were the main topic at hand during Goodell's visit.
While at the Lions' facility, Goodell plans to take the time to meet with Lions running back Mikel Leshoure and defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Each player has been arrested twice this offseason, and Leshoure has already been hit with a two-game suspension for his incidents. The legal process is still playing out with Fairley's incidents, but that doesn't mean a suspension won't soon be handed out by Goodell.
"I met with Nick earlier this spring and we talked an awful lot about where he is," Goodell said during a visit to Lions training camp today. "We don't (have to wait for the legal system to run its course) by policy, particularly if there's a pattern of behavior. But if there is not a pattern we certainly do acknowledge the legal process and want to be respectful of that."
In Fairley's case, I would say that there is a pattern of behavior based on him being arrested in two separate incidents. If Goodell finds that to be the case, then he could suspend Fairley at the start of the season instead of waiting until after Fairley's November hearing for the marijuana charge he is facing. That might actually work to the Lions' advantage, as it may be better to not have him at the start of the season if that means they will have him around later in the season when they may be in the middle of a playoff race.