Getting rid of a guy with a pair of offseason arrests, including one involving a gun, seemed to be a slam dunk for the Lions.
But as simple as the decision to cut cornerback Aaron Berry was, coach Jim Schwartz admitted it came with a cost.
“From a football standpoint that was a very, very difficult decision,” Schwartz said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “From a team standpoint, it was an easy decision. And I think, . . . based on what had gone on in the spring, every player was very well aware of the stakes that were in play for the break before training camp. And it was very disappointing that he didn’t respond.
“But you come to peace with things like that, and one of the ways I came to peace with it was, knowing what the stakes were going into it, if somebody could make two really bad errors in judgment and bad decisions in that short period of time, what would they do during a big game? What would they do when the stakes were just as high?”
Now that they’re without a starting corner, the Lions are going to find out. They’re scrapping together a cast of draft picks and journeymen, looking for one to put opposite Chris Houston. At the same time, Berry left them no choice by using such ridiculously poor judgement.
But Schwartz said the handling of Berry didn’t necessarily establish a precedent.
“Every situation is different,” Schwartz said. “Everyone knew the stakes when we left, based on what happened with the team in the spring. Every situation is different, and we’ll take every one as it comes up. But that one, while it was a very difficult decision from a football standpoint, it was a very easy decision from a team standpoint. We wish him the best. Hopefully he can put some of those bad decisions to rest; it just won’t be with us.”
The Lions also cut offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath, who was arrested for possession of marijuana. But he was a fringe player anyway. Mikel Leshoure and Nick Fairley each ran afoul of the law, and they’re still in camp.
Something about being central to the team’s plans gives one a little extra leeway.