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Lions could, but likely won’t, discipline trouble-making players

Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions in action against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on December 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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With four of the Lions’ five 2011 draft picks finding trouble this offseaon, the question becomes whether the Lions will do anything about it. Other than telling receiver Titus Young (pictured) to take a break from OTAs -- and then insisting that he hadn’t been suspended even though no one ever reported or claimed that he was -- the Lions have done nothing to punish their second-year players who have stepped in No. 2.

In two cases, twice.

But despite defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s pair of arrests and running back Mikel Leshoure’s pair of marijuana incidents and defensive tackle Johnny Culbreath’s single marijuana issue (ain’t it sad that we have to actually point out that a guy has had only one off-field incident?), the Lions aren’t expected to take action, as explained by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday’s PFT Live.

Technically, teams can’t take action against players who have gotten in trouble away from the field. The CBA reserves to the league office the ability to fine and/or suspend players who have violated the substance-abuse policy and/or the personal-conduct policy. But the CBA also allows teams to suspend players for up to four games for conduct detrimental to the team, and plenty of teams have taken action pursuant to that relatively vague and broad authority, even if the underlying conduct otherwise falls under the substance-abuse policy or the personal-conduct policy.

The ultimate question becomes whether and to what extent the player intends to fight the punishment. If the player chooses not to fight, it doesn’t matter whether the team is implementing discipline that it technically can’t.

So, basically, if the Lions wanted to make a statement, they could. For now, it’s safe to assume that they simply don’t want to.