It’s time for the Detroit Lions to make a statement and release cornerback Aaron Berry.
That’s provided, of course, that the latest reports are accurate and that Berry has been arrested for the second time in less than a month.
This time, Berry, 24, reportedly was charged with three counts of simple assault for allegedly brandishing a firearm after being arrested early Saturday morning in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pa., according to the Detroit Free Press.
The incident was originally reported, but not confirmed, by ProFootballTalk.com.
“We are extremely disappointed by the reports involving Aaron Berry,” the Lions said in a statement released Sunday morning. “We are currently gathering more information and will have further comment when appropriate.”
Berry also was arrested June 23 in Harrisburg for driving under the influence of alcohol, among other charges, after hitting two parked vehicles with his BMW.
He had reached a deal on those charges only a few days ago in which he was scheduled to enter a diversionary program for first-time offenders and perform community service. Upon completion of the terms, the charges against Berry would have been removed from his record.
However, the latest incident puts that agreement in doubt.
For the Lions, this marks the seventh arrest in less than six months.
Two of Berry’s teammates also were arrested twice during that time — running back Mikel Leshoure (both on marijuana possession charges) and defensive tackle Nick Fairley (first possession of marijuana and then driving under the influence).
Offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath was charged with marijuana possession in January.
What’s more, a report came out in the last week that defensive tackle Corey Williams had been arrested a year ago on a drunken-driving charge in Arkansas.
How much bad publicity can one organization take before making a more serious stand?
It’s become unquestionably clear that whatever forms of discipline the Lions have attempted this offseason have failed. NFL players are completely out of control right now, none more so than the Lions.
Slaps on the wrist aren’t working. Threats of suspensions and fines aren’t working. Peer pressure isn’t working.
These guys simply aren’t learning from their own mistakes, much less the mistakes of others around them.
An example needs to be made, and it needs to be made now before this gets any worse. No more apologies accepted. No more excuses about young players simply having to mature.
Berry has put himself in a position where he’s the one who has to pay a serious price. That seems to be the only way to try to get through to these guys and put an end to the widespread nonsense.
Berry — 5-foot-11, 180 pounds — isn’t a standout player by any means, but he was being projected as a starting corner to replace Eric Wright, who left the Lions as a free agent and signed with Tampa Bay.
The Lions have other options, including Chris Houston, Jacob Lacey and three draft picks, who can help fill the void if Berry is dismissed.
Berry has been a feel-good story in that he made it in the league as an undrafted free agent after playing in college at Pittsburgh. He was injured for much of his first two years with the Lions but had showed promise when healthy.
The coaching staff felt it all came down to whether Berry could avoid injury and stay on the field, but you have to seriously wonder whether Berry will even get on the field now.
The Lions begin training camp in a few more days. Aaron Berry, unless falsely accused, shouldn’t be there.