The ink on the arrest citation wasn't even dry when the Detroit Lions put pen to paper and issued defensive back Aaron Berry his release papers. Team president Tom Lewand appears to be addressing a seemingly out-of-control Lions team.
“We have repeatedly stressed to everyone in our organization that there will be appropriate consequences when an expected standard of behavior is not upheld,” Lewand said in a statement following Berry's release.
This offseason, the Lions have been party to seven arrests. Berry contributed two. On Saturday, Berry was arrested for simple assault involving a firearm, and suspicion of DUI earlier in the month.
Berry's release is a blow to the Lions' backfield. Berry was slotted as a starting cornerback for the club. While Berry is not an impact player at his position, he is better than what he left behind on the roster. Now Detroit will have to turn to sub-par talent to fill a void that crippled the team last season.
In recognizing the gaping hole at the position, the Lions drafted three cornerbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft. They also acquired veterans Alphonso Smith and Jacob Lacey.
The twist that we would like to see for teams who release players like Berry is to not penalize the team by making them take a hit on their salary cap. Much like the NCAA did with the current Penn State players by allowing them to transfer to other schools without suffering any transfer restrictions (and the receiving school, as well), the NFL should permit teams to release players without enduring a salary cap penalty if the player violated the NFL's conduct or substance-abuse policy. Until then, the players are able to hi-jack teams.
And undoubtably, Berry will be snagged by a different NFL team, serve a looming suspension and be right back on the field providing his mediocre talents to another ball club. Teams should freeze Berry out of the league and send a message. But with the Bengals still a part of the NFL, guys like Berry will always have a home.