The NFL has issued a statement acknowledging the finding that the Lions engaged in tampering with the Chiefs.
The statement acknowledges that the finding came after a review and a hearing, and that the penalty arose from public comments regarding an interest in Chiefs players (an indirect reference to the remarks from Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) and “having impermissible contact with a player (or his agent) under contract to the Chiefs.”
The player and agent weren’t named, but the player possibly was safety Jarrad Page, who held out for most of the offseason and training camp as a restricted free agent. Page later was traded to the Patriots.
Given that players and agents typically deny any such contact once the allegations are made, making it impossible to prove that contact occurred, our guess is that the league discovered some sort of electronic paper trail, either via e-mails or text messages or both, that confirmed contact between the Lions and the Chiefs player/agent.
So, yes, the Lions have been busted. It remains to be seen whether either team appeals before the February 28 deadline. The fact that the Lions received a lower punishment than the 49ers in 2008 for tampering with Bears linebacker Lance Briggs could prompt the Chiefs to ask for a draft swap higher than round five.