Off-field trouble? Bill Ford Jr. says Lions 'dealing with it in-house'

Bill Ford Jr. says the Detroit Lions are “dealing with it in-house” when it comes to the rash of embarrassing offseason arrests that have painted the franchise in a negative light.

The Lions attained a reputation for being undisciplined on the field last season with a slew of bad penalties and fines, most notably the Ndamukong Suh Thanksgiving Day incident when he stomped on the arm of a Green Bay Packers offensive lineman.

Now, they’ve taken that undisciplined perception to a new level. Running back Mikel Leshoure was arrested twice earlier this offseason for marijuana possession. He was a second-round draft pick last year. First-round draft pick Nick Fairley has separate arrests for DUI and marijuana possession.

There are some conversations taking place right now,” Ford, the club’s vice chairman, told Tim Walsh of the Detroit Free Press. “It’s disappointing, very disappointing. It’s a shame.”

Ford says the club has placed a premium on acquiring players with high character but acknowledged they have “had an inordinate number of issues.
“We’ve dealt with it, we’re dealing with it in-house,” Ford continued. “But I would point out, it is a handful of young guys.”

The thing is, no one is going to believe Ford or anyone else until the Lions complete a sustained period without mindless run-ins with the law. The club is going to be scrutinized and that’s just the way it is when a group goes through a period like this. The Lions can say they are dealing with the situation all they want but ultimately you would expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to have a say in the matter. He’s been tough when it comes to off-field behavior and the Lions would seem likely to have some punishments coming.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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