Despite recent marijuana-related incidents involving the team’s top two draft picks in 2011 (Nick Fairley and Mikel Leshoure), the Detroit Lions won’t be shying away from players with marijuana in their past.
Lions G.M. Martin Mayhew explained the team’s position on Thursday.
“The league has really changed over the years,” Mayhew said, via Anwar Richardson of MLive.com. “If you go back 10, 15 years ago, and a guy had a positive test, that was a big deal. That was something to be very concerned about. It still is, but not at the level it was years ago. There are certain things we want to hear from guys. There are certain things we don’t want to hear from guys. It doesn’t help us to tell you [media] what those things are.”
The main thing teams want to hear from players who have marijuana in their history is that, if push comes to shove, they’ll stop using it. As mentioned earlier today, many teams care about marijuana use only to the extent that the player ends up being unable to play due to repeated positive tests, and the suspensions that inevitably arise. (As former Buccaneers and Colts coach Tony Dungy explained last year on PFT Live, some teams aren’t so quick to overlook illegal drug use.)
The other reality is that, for all the players who get in trouble for using marijuana in college, plenty more of them don’t get in trouble for it. Dumping players from draft boards simply because they got caught will disqualify a team from landing talented players who, once they realize the stakes, will put down the bong and never look back.