On Tuesday morning, the Detroit Lions released offensive guard Rodney Austin. When news of his release first broke, it was a surprising move. Why would the Lions suddenly release Austin on just the second day of their offseason training program with so little depth at offensive guard as it is?
As it turns out, Austin was released because he was arrested last Friday in North Carolina. The allegations against him are pretty troubling, to say the least. From MLive:
Austin was arrested Friday morning on assault charges against a female, assault on a child under 12, misdemeanor larceny and interference with emergency communication in Mecklenburg County, N.C., online records show. He was released later Friday on $2,250 bond.
Considering Jim Caldwell has a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence, Austin's release is hardly surprising now that we know what led to it. Caldwell has made it very clear that there is a high cost for low living, and the Lions followed through on that mantra by quickly releasing Austin.
In terms of the on-the-field impact of this, it's really pretty minimal. The Lions have basically no one at left guard now, but it's not like they were going to go into the 2015 season with Austin as their starter. He was never able to develop beyond a backup role, and the Lions' plans of eventually signing a free agent or drafting someone to start at left guard have not been altered by Austin's release. There is more of a need for additional depth at guard, I suppose, but the Lions had a need for a starter even before Tuesday.
Ex-Lions OL Rodney Austin says he is innocent of domestic violence charges and will pursue a civil suit against his accuser— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) April 21, 2015
Austin says thru agent he understands why Detroit cut him, w/ DV such a "charged subject" in the NFL. Hopes to rejoin team after cleared— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) April 21, 2015
Austin says thru agent charges are "retaliatory in nature due to an ongoing issue over child custody and disagreements over the future"— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) April 21, 2015