Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril stopped by ESPN's NFL32 on Wednesday. Predictably, the main topic of the conversation was the Lions' off-field issues. Avril's contract situation was also discussed during the interview, but nothing he said about it is really new at this point.
Avril's comments about the Lions' rash of off-field incidents are new. This was the first chance a Lions player had to comment on the issues since Aaron Berry's DUI arrest, and Avril said he doesn't think people should judge the whole team on a few players' actions.
"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."
Avril is right. It's not fair for people to assume the entire team is filled with misfits because a few guys have gotten in trouble this offseason. Unfortunately, the reality is that's just what people do. Look at the Cincinnati Bengals when they had players getting in trouble. To this day jokes are still made about the Bengals being a franchise of troublemakers because of a small group of players who couldn't stay out of trouble.
The thing that players really need to understand is that they do make their entire franchise look bad when they get in trouble, especially given what has happened this offseason for the Lions. Perhaps this is a message that needs to get through to guys like Nick Fairley and Aaron Berry and some of the other young players who have been in trouble. You're not just putting your own career in jeopardy by doing dumb stuff off the field, but you're also damaging the reputation of your teammates and the Lions franchise as a whole.
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