On Monday, Detroit Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell explained why the team made a somewhat surprising move to cut veteran safety Jayron Kearse, who had been one of their better players in the secondary this year.
“We’re at the end of the season here,” Bevell said. “There’s some younger guys on the roster that we want to be able to take a look at.”
While that made some sense on the surface—Will Harris and Tracy Walker could certainly use more experience given their struggles this year—that still didn’t fully explain the move. Why not just play Kearse less against the Vikings, and give the team a shot to re-sign the veteran safety next year? Maybe the new coaching staff would value his skillset.
Turns out there was more to the story. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Kearse violated a couple team rules that led to him being declared inactive last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Kearse committed a violation of team rules before the Lions’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week when he left the team hotel without permission and was late for bed check, multiple sources told the Free Press,” Birkett noted.
This is the second time in three weeks the Lions have released a veteran player who seemed to be playing well. Back in the beginning of December, the Lions also cut wide receiver Marvin Hall. However, there was no clear reason given for that transaction.
“He’s made some big plays for us, but there’s a lot that goes into it, in terms of roster spots, and more than just play on the field,” Bevell said a few days after that decision.
It is a bit odd to see so many significant changes to the Lions’ personnel and coaching—let’s not forget the sudden firing of special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs—under an interim head coach and without a general manager, but perhaps it speaks to the team’s insistence on creating a “Lions culture” here... finally.