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RB depth could again be key for Lions

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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Posted April 06, 2012 @ 3:01 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Lions’ March re-signing of RB Kevin Smith looks all the better now, with news of two marijuana-related incidents for second-year back Mikel Leshoure coming to light. Leshoure, who missed the 2011 season with an Achilles tendon injury, was arrested in Michigan on Feb. 18 and March 12 on separate marijuana possession charges. The latter charge, which is reportedly a felony, is unresolved.

According to multiple media outlets, Leshoure pled guilty to marijuana use in connection with the Feb. 18 charge and paid a fine. The first offense by itself could make him subject to NFL discipline, per the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, including a suspension for as many as four games. A second “violation of the law,” per the substance-abuse policy, could result in a suspension of as many as six games.

Smith rushed for 356 yards in 2011 with Detroit after re-signing with the team in November, and he was the Lions’ best back down the stretch. Considering Leshoure’s off-field incidents and RB Jahvid Best’s history of concussions, Smith is, if nothing else, solid insurance.

The Lions, who currently have six running backs on the roster, could conceivably address the position in the draft. They traded back into Round One for Best in 2010, and they engineered a similar move in Round Two last April for Leshoure. The unrestricted free-agent RB market is also filled with options, with Joseph Addai, Cedric Benson and Cadillac Williams among the unsigned.

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