It's clear that Titus Young's first unofficial suspension did not catch his attention. So what are we to expect from his second? I don't have my hopes up.
As you probably have heard by now, the Detroit Lions already have declared Young inactive for Thursday's game against the Houston Texans. He was sent home from the team facility for behavior reasons Monday, the second time that's happened in six months, and he probably won't even practice over the next few days.
Those close to the team say Young has been a brooding malcontent for much of this season, routinely lining up wrong and sulking when he's unhappy with ball distribution. His attitude and mental miscues have become "unacceptable," coach Jim Schwartz told reporters, and it sent receivers coach Shawn Jefferson into a sideline rage late in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
(Schwartz confirmed Jefferson's rage was not directed at offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, despite appearances on television, and said the two have no issues.)
Young is apparently unhappy with a role that has seen him play more snaps (620, via Pro Football Focus) than any Lions pass-catcher besides receiver Calvin Johnson. After 11 weeks of the season, it appears Schwartz is no longer having it.
"When you are a player," Schwartz said, "it's your job to make the team happy, not the team's job to make you happy."
According to Schwartz, Young was lined up wrong on a second-down play near the goal line late in the fourth quarter Sunday, and the ensuing confusion contributed to right tackle Gosder Cherilus jumping offside. The Lions benched Young for the final series of the game.
Young is still only 23 years old, but he has a history of behavior problems dating back to a 2008 suspension while a sophomore at Boise State. I've been covering the NFL for 13 years and I can't think of a player who was sent home twice from a practice facility as if he were a child. Young has excellent skills as a receiver and the Lions used a second-round draft choice on him, but I'm not sure he's a good enough player to continue putting up with. His issues are obviously deep-seated and the Lions shouldn't allow him back until he has thoroughly dealt with them.
It's hard to imagine that process taking place in a week's time. Young has now blown the second chance the Lions gave him this spring after he punched safety Louis Delmas during an offseason workout. Rare is an NFL player, especially a non-superstar, who gets three chances with one team. The Lions would have been totally justified in cutting him Monday and it's still possible he'll never play for them again. Sometimes, you have to cut your losses and I think the Lions are as close as they could possibly be without having already done it.
Related: Schwartz said that left tackle Jeff Backus is doubtful for Thursday's game because of a leg injury, spelling the likely end of Backus' 186-game streak of consecutive starts. Cornerback Drayton Florence probably also won't be available after being diagnosed with a concussion.