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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Are the Detroit Lions going to pot?

Since it is only a couple of days until the NFL Draft, what follows is a cautionary tale addressed to Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Mayhew of the Detroit Lions:

Granted, this was years ago. I’m a grandpa now and I’ve sent four of our own kids to college.

Dave was a college buddy of mine.

Smart guy, great personality, good athlete with an insatiable appetite for marijuana.

I eventually graduated. Most of our buddies eventually graduated. Dave never did manage to graduate. I moved away and got a job. Most of our buddies moved away and got a job. Dave never moved away from that small college town, at least not until years later.

Dave was a laid back guy. Probably too laid back. He certainly lacked motivation. Was that just Dave’s personality or was it the marijuana? Me, I figure it was a combination plate of both.

That said, it doesn't instill confidence that several of the college football players the Lions' are considering in the first round have marijuana-related offenses on their resumes.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was busted twice for marijuana while at the University of Florida, and was eventually booted from the team. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama faced a marijuana charge that was eventually dropped. Offensive tackle Mike Adams of Ohio State allegedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine, a revelation which, if true, raises other questions because guys know they are going to be tested at the Combine.

Then there are the offseason problems related to marijuana for three of last year's picks - Mikel Leshoure, Nick Fairley and Johnny Culbreath.

Now I'm not naïve. I know the use of marijuana is prevalent. In fact, when I was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago, my brother-in-law Mark jokingly (?) exalted that "Now you can get a medical marijuana card."

I told him no, I wasn’t going to do that, but we could still go to the music festival at Rothbury.

We shared a good laugh. Dave, if I recall, did a whole bunch of giggling.

Mike, another buddy when I was younger, grew up in my hometown.

Mike was very, very smart, probably one of the smartest guys I ever knew. He could talk intelligently on a wide variety of topics. An outstanding athlete, too. But, like Dave, Mike could not yank himself away from smoking marijuana on a very regular basis.

He went to Michigan State, but he never finished college. He lingered in East Lansing for awhile until school administrators told him to either start taking some classes or vacate the premises. He had the intelligence to have become a doctor, lawyer or anything he wanted. Instead, Mike worked as a bartender. He delivered newspapers.

I lost track of both Dave and Mike but I hope they got themselves back on track. Both had a lot to offer.

Just like all of the aforementioned football players potentially have a lot to offer.

I am not a prude. I am not saying that just because all of these young players have smoked marijuana, the Lions should necessarily skip them in the draft or get rid of the ones they drafted last year.

But if I’m a coach or a general manager, marijuana isn’t something I like to see on someone’s resume. What are the positives? I don’t want a giggling guy, I want a snarling guy. I want guys with drive. I want guys with motivation.

I don’t want guys like Dave who might still drive an AMC Gremlin. I want guys with enthusiasm, not guys who enthusiastically chomp down an entire pizza or a package of Fig Newtons at 2:30 or 3 a.m.

Don't get me wrong; Dave and Mike were good guys. Janoris, Dre and Mike are probably good guys. Chances are, so, too are Mikel, Nick and Johnny.

Where do I stand on the issue of marijuana? That's a tough call. I'm not sure I would want to stand in the huddle with anyone whose regular training regime includes roller papers and a bong, though.


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