Meow Mix: High Times in Detroit. The Charles Rogers Story.

Daniel MuthSenior Analyst IAugust 7, 2009

DETROIT - NOVEMBER 13:  Wide receiver Charles Rogers #80 of the Detroit Lions looks on against the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field on November 13, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Cardinals 29-21. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)

If I may paraphrase the late great Brad Nowell of Sublime:

He smokes two joints in the morning,

He smokes two joints at night,

He smokes two joints in the afternoon,

It makes him feel alright.

He smokes two joints in times of peace,

And two in times of war,

He smokes two joints before he smokes two joints,

And then he smokes some more.

If ever there was a testament to the lunacy of rookie signing bonuses you need look no further than the THC-stained case of Charles Rogers, the incandescent Michigan State wide receiver who disappeared in a puff of smoke after signing with the Detroit Lions .

Initially, the selection of Rogers seemed to pay dividends for the team. 

In the first five games of his rookie career, he accumulated 22 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns. 

If he had continued this type of production, he might have put together a truly impressive rookie campaign with nearly 70 receptions for 800 yards and 10 TD's.

By any account, that would have justified his selection.

As seems typical with the Detroit Lions, however, it was not to be.

While practicing a speed drill with Lions DB Dre Bly, Rogers broke his collarbone and was out for the rest of the season.

On the third play of the following season, he broke his collarbone again.

And with this final injury, things rapidly spiraled downhill for Rogers.

Before going any further, I think it's worth noting that as a Michigan State fan, watching Rogers' 2002 Biletnikoff Award-winning season was a pure joy.

A prodigious combination of size, speed, athleticism, and hands, Rogers dominated in the rugged Big Ten, flashing his 4.28 speed, 6'3" 220-pound frame, and flypaper touch.

He set school records for all-time touchdown receptions (27), and in the interest of brevity, set every single-season school receiving record, including a 270-yard outburst versus Fresno State (most yards in a game).

I've watched most of today's great NFL receivers in college from Randy Moss to Larry Fitzgerald, and I can honestly say that Rogers 2002 college season stacks up with any of them.

On the surface, he seemed to be a can't-miss prospect, but then again, you need to scratch the surface a little on a player that you're about to hand $14.5 million to, and it seems that the Lions did very little digging.

Rogers had failed drug tests each year during his tenure at Michigan State, though somehow this was something the Lions failed to notice.

Rogers was also disciplined on more than one occasion for violation of team rules.

And though I'll be the first to admit that smoking a little pot once in awhile probably isn't an indication of professional failure (if you look at the polls conducted by the league, a large percentage of players admit to having used pot at one time or another), it's the multiple times getting caught that should have indicated a chronic problem (pun intended).

This brings us to Rogers' recent interview on Outside the Lines where he admits to have been smoking pot every day during his Lions tenure, in conjunction with a daily dependence on various hardcore prescription medications that would leave one to wonder how he was functioning at all.

I guess the answer is that he wasn't.

When he came back from his second injury, Rogers was promptly suspended four games for his third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy and somehow was not the athletic specimen he had once been.

His trademark speed was gone consumed in a smoky haze, his ability to run routes was questionable given that he had a hard time remembering the plays, and his hands weren't nearly as pure, given that his depth perception was probably beyond reckoning.

Well yeah, he was high.

All the time.

And though being High All the Time may be all right for the 50 Cents of the world, it's a pretty good start if you're bent on absolutely ruining your NFL career.

After being cut by Rod Marinelli, Rogers was unable to latch on with any other NFL team, though one gets the indication that he wasn't really trying too hard.

Why should he have to?

He's still wealthy and in possession of millions of ill-gotten NFL gains; he gets to smoke pot every day, and he doesn't have to answer to anyone.

Sounds like a drug addict's dream.

Because in all honesty, if he got his act together, he could still play in the league.  His body hasn't taken much punishment over the years (though his brain may have) and you just don't go from running a 4.28 to a 4.8 (his latest time in a failed attempt to join the Kansas City Chiefs ).

This lapse in ability is a sure indication that he is still perpetually "blowing" (his own words describing his pot smoking).

If it's any consolation to Lions fans, it's partly because of the Rogers fiasco that NFL teams now look into the "character" of their draft picks so rigorously, particularly when selecting in the first round.

I know, I know, it isn't.

And in the portion of the interview that he gave to ESPN, one got the distinct impression that he was either on something, or rendered nearly incoherent from his years of drug abuse.

Yeah, he's still blowing all right.

Just like he blew for the Lions.

And just like he'll continue to blow, secure in the wealth and knowledge that his high times in Detroit need never end.


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