ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Receiver Titus Young’s absence from the Detroit Lions for disciplinary reasons has entered its second week, raising more questions about his future with the club.
Young, who was held out of last week’s game, didn’t attend Tuesday’s practice. It remains unclear when, or if, he will return to the team.
“Not here today, but we’ll re-evaluate that as we go,” coach Jim Schwartz said.
Asked whether Young had played his last game with the Lions, Schwartz replied, “I think it’s way too soon to tell on stuff like that.”
Schwartz said that Young “potentially” could be back during the Lions’ final five games this season. The next game is Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field.
During one part of the interview, Schwartz used the phrase “if he gets back with the team” to describe Young’s status. But the coach quickly added that “it’s more when he gets back with the team.”
Young’s selfishness and immaturity were cited as reasons for the disciplinary move last week. Schwartz called Young a “distraction” to the rest of the team.
Schwartz was vague in describing exactly what Young needs to do to get back to practice, much less for a game.
“The team and he both needed a little time away,” Schwartz said.
Young, a second-round pick in 2011 out of Boise State, made 33 catches for 383 yards and four touchdowns while playing in the Lions’ first 10 games.
His immaturity has been an ongoing issue. Young was kicked out of the Lions’ offseason workouts last May after sucker-punching teammate Louis Delmas.
“There have been times he’s been very productive in our offense; he’s been an asset for our offense, an asset for our team,” Schwartz said of Young. “That’s where he needs to get back to.”
The unanswered question is how Young is going to do that at this point. As a result, the growing suspicion is that Young could be on the trading block during the offseason.
KING OF THE HEADLINES
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh wasn’t available to the media Tuesday, but he did do some tweeting, including these messages:
*“IF YOU HAVE A LIFE YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO HATE!!!”
*”TIME TO PREPARE FOR ANOTHER DOMINATING PERFORMANCE!”
On Monday, the day he found out he wouldn’t be suspended by the NFL for connecting with Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin, Suh continued to make headlines off the field for the wrong reasons.
Channel 2, the FOX television affiliate in Detroit, reported that Suh had been pulled over by police in Lathrup Village earlier this month for driving carelessly. It is at least the fourth driving incident for Suh in the past year.
“We have traffic citations for a lot of different players,” Schwartz said. “Those generally don’t come across my desk and don’t really get on our radar as long as people are taking care of what they’re supposed to be taking care of.”
Suh, however, remains a magnet for controversy and headlines.
“That’s just something he’s going to have to live with probably his whole career,” Schwartz said. “He is a high-profile player. Everything he does is going to be a matter of attention.”
Asked if he thinks Suh should hire a driver to solve the problem, Schwartz said, “Honestly, I think it would be best for every single player in the NFL to have a driver. There are a lot of situations that can be avoided. It just takes something else off your radar. He’s certainly a guy who’s in a fortunate position that he could afford something like that.”
As for Suh’s controversial play in the Thanksgiving Day game, Schwartz said, “I don’t think it was any big news that he wasn’t going to be suspended.
“What I saw was his head was down and away from that play. In my mind, you would have to have eyes in the back of your head to be able to do it (kick the quarterback intentionally).”
Schwartz pointed out that Suh has been called for only one penalty, offside, in 11 games this season.
“Ndamukong has done a really good job this year of avoiding penalties,” Schwartz said. “From where he was the two previous years, he’s obviously worked very hard to put those kind of things in his past. We’ve been pleased with that.”
LAST PENALTY FOR SCHWARTZ?
Schwartz continued to criticize himself for throwing the red flag that resulted in an illegal challenge and gave Houston a touchdown in the Lions’ 34-31 overtime loss.
“It was a dumb decision on my part,” Schwartz said. “We’ve got to live with it.”
The coach did have a laugh when asked about defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham drop-kicking a clipboard when he found out the 81-yard touchdown run — the Houston player should have been ruled down after a short gain — wouldn’t be reviewed.
“I wish I had a clipboard to throw,” Schwartz said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever gotten a penalty in any game as a coach, and certainly will be my last.
“I wish I had taken a shoe off and thrown it like that guy did to President Bush that one time. Or if I had a hat, I could have thrown that or thrown the headset down. I’ve smashed headsets before. That would have been a much better solution there.”
Offensive tackle Jeff Backus, who had a streak of 186 consecutive regular-season starts end on Thanksgiving because of a hamstring injury, didn’t practice when the team returned from its four-day break.
“I’m feeling better,” Backus said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Asked whether a return this week was possible, Backus answered, “I hope so. We’ll see it. Going to take it day to day. Not much more I can say.”
Others who didn’t practice included safety Louis Delmas, offensive guard Rob Sims, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, defensive end Cliff Avril and defensive tackle Corey Williams.