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Charles Rogers Decision a Grim Reminder In Detroit Lions War Room

DETROIT , MI - JANUARY 16:  Jim Schwartz, center, head coach of the Detroit Lions poses with General Manager Martin Mayhew, left, and Tom Lewand team president after a press conference to introduce him as the Lions new head coach on January 16, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Steve ByerlyCorrespondent IApril 7, 2010

   The Detroit Lions war room is assembled and ready to dig in. With the number 2 draft choice overall, the decision looms in front of the franchise like an albatross.  Since the Lions ruled the jungle, some 5 decades ago, the NFL draft has been a mine field filled with disappointment, missteps and blunders. The true winners have been far too few and in between.

   Today, a United States District Court has ruled that one of the Lions blunders owes the franchise 6.1 million dollars, the unearned portion of an original 9.1 million dollar signing bonus. That blunder was the selection by Matt Millen of Charles Rogers.  The knowledge that Mr. Rogers had drug issues, while still at Michigan State, was enough for Millen to put the clause that influenced the courts decision into the contract in the first place but knowing that a college student has a drug problem and not expecting it to continue, or worsen, once that player had millions of dollars at his disposal and tons of free time seems ludicrous at best.

   I sincerely hope that small details like that are not overlooked when selecting this years number one. I believe Detroit is finally on a path of resurrection under Coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew. Opportunities to build a winner don't come along often enough to let this one slide by as only this Lions franchise already knows all too well.

   For the record, I would like to see the team select Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh because he is a truly dominating presence that Detroit has lacked for decades. That being said, if there is anything about him that the team has uncovered but the fans haven't, I hope that they learn from the past and make a solid, informed decision.

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