ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions have finally had enough of off-season troubles from their players. The first casualty is cornerback Aaron Berry, whose contract was terminated on Monday morning following his second arrest in less than a month.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew made the announcement during a brief press conference this morning at the Lions’ training facility. “We have repeatedly stressed to everyone in our organization that there will be appropriate consequences when an expected standard of behavior is not upheld,” Lions President Tom Lewand said in a statement.
Berry was arrested on Saturday in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pa. and charged with three counts of assault. This comes on the heels of his June 23 arrest on DUI charges when the car he was driving struck other parked cars in the parking lot of the Hilton Harrisburg Hotel.
Berry, 24, was scheduled to enter a diversionary program in Pennsylvania that would have gotten the DUI charge expunged from his record. It was the seventh arrest of a Detroit player during this off season.
The second incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, outside of a Harrisburg bar. Three men were exiting the establishment when they were nearly hit by an exiting vehicle.
After a brief argument, the rear passenger window rolled down and a gun with a laser site was pointed at the men, as alleged by Berry, before driving off. In a strange twist, one of the victims turned out to be a blogger on the Miami Dolphins fan site Phinfever.com.
“At the end of the night as my buddies and I are walking back to the car, we nearly get hit by this guy backing out of a parking spot,” said Anthony Pinzone in a post on the fan site. “Naturally, we were yelling to get his attention so we wouldn’t get hit. Well next thing we know they’re rolling down the back window and the front passenger points a laser at us and tells us to back away.
“Turns out that laser was attached to a Glock-45. My friend, being a gun enthusiast, was able to describe the weapon exactly and they caught the car just a block away.”
Berry was the fourth Lions player to be arrested since January, and the third to be arrested twice. Berry had previously drawn the ire of Lions fans by tweeting that they could “go back to being broke and miserable” after Detroit’s 45-28 playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints in January.
Along with Berry, running back Mikel Leshoure was arrested twice on marijuana-related charges in southwest Michigan, while defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested twice in Alabama – once for marijuana possession and once for DUI.
Berry, who was entering his third season in Detroit, was expected to start at right corner, earning high praise from defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham in April. Berry will be placed on waivers and could be signed by another team.
Lions cornerback Chris Houston tweeted on Sunday, referencing Berry’s arrest: “You can preach to someone over and over, but if they don’t get it, it’s nothing you can do. They have to learn the hard way.”
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