“He’s been playing like we expect him to play,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of DT Nick Fairley, the club’s 2011 first-round pick, on Tuesday, according to the club. “Nick’s a very talented player; he’s been working very hard.”
Of course, as Schwartz noted: “None of that’s going to matter if he’s not available on the field for us.”
Fairley’s availability in 2012 could be somewhat compromised after a pair of offseason arrests. Fairley faces DUI and eluding police charges from a May 27 incident, and he was arrested April 3 on misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Fairley faces a July 31 court date on the marijuana charge, according to Al.com. Also, PFW learned Wednesday that Fairley faces a June 28 arraignment on the DUI/eluding police charges in Mobile (Ala.) County Court.
Were Fairley to be found guilty or to plead guilty in either case, he would face NFL discipline. The NFL’s substance-abuse policy allows for the potential for as much as a four-game suspension after a first "violation of the law" for a substance other than alcohol. Moreover, the policy states an alcohol-related violation after “prior drug or alcohol-related misconduct” can lead to “increased discipline up to and including suspension.”
Fairley’s pair of arrests came after 2011 second-round pick Mikel LeShoure was twice arrested for marijuana possession earlier in the offseason.
“That's the thing that is most concerning about it,” Schwartz said of both players being arrested twice. “There's a lot of guys that have an issue in the past. There's a lot of guys that have maturing situations and lessons they've learned from. … We've had a couple situations here where it has happened twice. It certainly calls for concern that they haven't learned it and it puts more focus on it from our standpoint.”
Fairley, 24, was slowed by a foot injury as a rookie, but he has looked the part in OTAs. However, his off-field concerns are the story right now.