Nick Fairley’s recent DUI in Alabama may be a way for the Detroit Lions’ first-round pick of the 2011 NFL Draft to call for help.
His track record since April suggests that he’s spiraling toward self-destruction, one that Lions fans have seen before with a top draft pick: Former Michigan State star receiver Charles Rogers threw away a potential spectacular NFL career; his behavior was similar to Fairley’s.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Fairley, a former Auburn star who was projected by some to be worthy of the first overall selection in 2011. For the record, I wasn’t thrilled when the Lions drafted him so early. Reports suggested that a troublesome future could be in the cards, which is probably why he dropped to 13th. I wasn’t sure that one great year in college would warrant such a high selection, either.
But the Lions rolled the dice on Fairley anyway. It must have been hard for the Lions brass to deny Fairley’s junior season in which he played a vital role in Auburn’s national title (11.5 sacks surely caught scout’s attention). Perhaps more careful examination was needed, because as it appears today, Fairley’s behavior could get worse before it gets better.
I found this article on MLive.com which highlights reports about Fairley’s pre-draft buzz. In hindsight, it appears that the Lions should have known better than to pick Fairley. Of course, it’s easy to say that now. But the warning signs were there.
Does Fairley deserve the caring approach, one that would consist of counseling and alcohol/drug treatment? He’s brimming with potential, but is he a lost cause?
It’s not always a simple solution, sadly. However, I believe that Fairley, given the proper guidance, could escape his demons. His DUI on Sunday suggests much more than a drinking problem, too. He eluded police, reportedly driving over 100 mph while doing so, prior to being corralled by Alabama State Troopers. It’s clear that Fairley doesn’t have high regard for authority.
Rules aren’t made to be broken. But in Fairley’s case, it sounds like he feels they don’t apply to him.
I’m in favor of a multi-game suspension and mandatory counseling. Fairley has to take a look in the mirror and make a choice — and soon. Does he want to go down the same road Rogers traveled? That path leads to nowhere. Or does he want to nip the problem now, carry on with his career in Detroit and leave his problems behind?
The choice, obviously, is up to Fairley. Here’s to making wise decisions from here on out, Nick.
Follow Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81. Follow Detroit Sports 360 @DETSports360.