COMMENTARY| Detroit Lions DT Nick Fairley has a lot of work to do before he gets back in the good graces of his organization. The second-year could-be-star-in-the-making attended a rookie symposium Wednesday in Cleveland. He couldn't go last season because of the lockout.
Maybe that's why he's made poor choices. He's been arrested for DUI and charged with marijuana possession during what has been a tumultuous offseason for the Lions' youngsters. Over Memorial Day Weekend, Fairley reportedly eluded police while driving 100 mph or faster. He had an open container of alcohol in his vehicle and failed to provide adequate proof of insurance, reports said.
But Thursday, reports surfaced that Fairley pleaded not guilty to DUI, along with the other charges. He was scheduled to appear in a Mobile, Ala. court Thursday morning, but was absent. He filed electronically and has a trial scheduled in the next 30-45 days.
He'll likely have to jump through several hoops to clear his name. Fairley is probably being advised to do things that will positively reflect his understanding of the matter. So yes, going to a rookie symposium could do that. Obviously, he's no longer a rookie. But the classes teach players how to be responsible with money, make good choices, along with lessons on character and leadership. Aren't those lessons learned at Auburn?
Fairley's special request to the NFL shows that he's remorseful. Or that's what it was designed to do.
"Nick knows that his actions will speak louder than his words in accepting responsibility and moving forward," Lewand said Thursday. "Asking to attend this year's symposium is clearly a positive action and a step in the right direction."
Fairley is on thin ice. And that's not the place a 6-foot-3, 291-pound lineman wants to be. One more miscue, jaywalking, parking ticket, failure to use turn signal, and he'll be on the brink of losing his job in Detroit. Young men make mistakes all the time. And when those young men have the world at their feet, egos, money and power can take control and cause poor decision-making skills.
Fairley has to realize that he has a promising NFL career. His self-destructive behavior will catch up with him, and he could be on the outside looking in, asking "What happened?"
Adam Biggers has followed the NFL for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Lions. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.