NFL Superstars Whose Immaturity Will Sabotage Their Teams
According to Chinese astrology, 2012 is the year of the dragon.
However, in the National Football League, 2012 would appear to be the year of the police blotter.
Even though the season hasn't even begun yet, a number of players have found their names in the news for all the wrong reasons.
These missteps haven't been limited to end-of-the-bench scrubs, such as Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Kiante Tripp (arrested in June for burglary), either. More than a few prominent pros have run afoul of the law this offseason, including this handful of high-priced boneheads.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
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Either there's a clause in Dez Bryant's contract that stipulates he has to do something stupid on a regular basis, or the 23-year-old wide receiver is a complete moron.
Since being drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, Bryant has been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars for failing to pay for jewelry, kicked out of a Dallas mall after an altercation with security, detained after a bar fight in Miami and now, according to ESPN, arrested for shoving his own mother.
This latest dust-up comes just over a month after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised Bryant's increased maturity, telling The Dallas Morning News that Bryant is "different as far as his maturity and as far as his understanding of what it takes to play in the National Football League."
Maybe Jones meant that Bryant was getting worse.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
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If nothing else, you can't accuse Marshawn Lynch of not being a stand-up guy.
When the sixth-year running back, who gained over 1,200 yards on the ground last year for the Seattle Seahawks, saw that Dez Bryant had been arrested, he immediately stepped up to the proverbial plate to ensure that Bryant wouldn't be lonely on the police blotter.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Lynch was jailed and released over the weekend for suspicion of DUI in Oakland.
On the heels of pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an accident in 2009 and a gun charge in 2010 that netted Lynch a three-game suspension, there's now a very real chance that Lynch will begin his 2012 campaign on the sidelines courtesy of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
That has to make the Seahawks feel just awesome about the four-year, $31 million contract extension that the team inked Lynch to in March.
Rolando McClain, LB, Oakland Raiders
Photo Courtesy of The Score
Since being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain has been something of a disappointment on the field.
Off the field, he's been even worse.
As the Associated Press reported via ESPN, McClain was sentenced in May to 180 days in jail after being convicted of assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm after an altercation in Alabama in which the 22-year-old allegedly threatened to kill a man and fired a gun near the man's head.
McClain is out on bail while appealing the verdict, but look at this picture taken when McClain was arrested and tell me how you'd feel if you were the NFL general manager that has $40 million invested in McClain.
Nick Fairley, DT, Detroit Lions
Photo Courtesy of Detroit Free Press
For some players, just one arrest an offseason isn't enough, and the poster child for "double-dipping" this year is defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who was the Detroit Lions first-round draft choice in 2011.
The 24-year-old followed up an April arrest for marijuana possession with a May bust for DUI and eluding police, all but ensuring that at some point this season Fairley will miss time as the result of a suspension.
For his part, Fairley recently told The Detroit Free Press that he understands the severity of his situation and is taking steps to ensure that there isn't a repeat performance.
“I haven’t turned my back on none of my friends,” Fairley said at a kickball tournament he was hosting in Dearborn Heights. “I’m still friends with everybody that I’ve been friends with.
“Like I said, just surrounding myself with better persons, people that got my best interests at heart: people in the locker, players just picking me up.”
Oh yeah, no way this ends badly.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Each year in the NFL incoming rookies face something of an uphill challenge, as these newcomers try to make a good first impression on their new teammates.
Apparently wide receiver Justin Blackmon of the Jacksonville Jaguars figured the easiest way to ingratiate himself to his new pals was to join the fraternity of NFL players that have a criminal defense attorney on speed dial.
In June, Blackmon was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI in Oklahoma after driving erratically and blowing three times the legal limit on a breathalyzer test in Oklahoma. The 22-year-old first-round pick pleaded not guilty to the charge, which is his second DUI since 2010.
Despite insisting that he does not have a drinking problem, Blackmon recently told The Sporting News via The Cleveland Plain Dealer that he has sworn off alcohol "for now".
Blackmon may want to change "for now" to "forever" or at least to "for as long as the Jaguars are paying me millions of dollars not to get suspended before I catch a pass in the NFL."
Just a thought.