No, Nick Fairley was not held back a grade.
But he’s attending the NFL Rookie Symposium this week even though the Detroit Lions defensive tackle is no longer a rookie. Fairley, the club’s first-round draft pick in 2011, is preparing for his second season in the NFL while also juggling a busy court schedule in Mobile, Ala., where he was arrested for marijuana possession and then for DUI and attempting to elude police this spring.
There was not a rookie symposium last year because of the NFL lockout and one wonders if attending one would have steered Fairley away from allegedly speeding through his neighborhood with marijuana in his car or cruising past a state trooper at 100 mph with an open container after a night of alleged drinking. But Fairley is there none the less and surely it’s in an effort to show NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that after two busts he’s serious about, you know, behaving.
According to Tim Twentyman, who writes for the team’s Web site, Fairley made a special petition to the league and it was granted.
“Nick knows that his actions will speak louder than his words in accepting responsibility and moving forward,” Lions president Tom Lewand announced on the team’s Web site. “Asking to attend this year’s symposium is clearly a positive action and a step in the right direction.”
It’s too bad running back Mikel Leshoure didn’t take the same step as he was also arrested twice this offseason. Of course, Leshoure has already been suspended for two games without pay and fined an additional two game checks. Fairley's court situation is hanging in the balance.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune