Mikel Leshoure and the NFL's drug policy

We learned through Detroit-area reports Monday that Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure has been cited twice this offseason for marijuana possession. The first came on Feb. 18, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, and the second was March 12. Leshoure paid a fine for this first citation, but was scheduled to be arraigned Monday for the second after he attempted to eat the marijuana to avoid a charge when stopped by police, according to the Free Press.

No, that final line is not a typo. But it's not as relevant as it seems as we consider the most important question raised by these episodes. Namely: How will they impact Leshoure's standing with the team and/or eligibility with the NFL?

No matter what you think of marijuana use, the NFL's policies tend to be less forgiving than the United States legal system. A player's status within the substance-abuse policy is confidential, but it is within the realm of its structure for Leshoure's first citation to have entered him into the program as a "Stage One" violator. The second citation could make him a "Stage Two" violator, which comes with an unpaid four-game suspension.

(Discipline through the NFL's personal conduct policy seems less likely given that neither citation resulted in an arrest.)

The Lions acknowledged the reports, but didn't comment beyond that. They have been counting on Leshoure's return from a ruptured Achilles tendon to help round out their backfield in 2012. They probably have too much invested in him to part ways over two marijuana citations, but they'll have to hope Leshoure hasn't pushed himself too far into the NFL's substance-abuse program in the past month. Stay tuned.