Gunther Cunningham needs to help Nick Fairley learn how to be a professional


I love a good AL Davis quote. Sure, in recent memory bashing Al (RIP) was a lot of fun and good for business. Poking a little fun at Raider Nation always gets the blood flowing a bit. However, some take that way to far and forget that Big Al was once a football visionary, and the NFL would look quite a bit different if not for him. On top of that Al was very wise, and it is time to share a quote that Lions Defensive Coordinator is using to put the Lions off season trouble into perspective.

Al Davis said, “It takes time for young players to learn how to conduct themselves as professionals, and smart teams will work with young players who make mistakes, not cut ties with them.”

There is a lot of truth in those words. Think about how big an idiot you were teh day you graduated college and entered the “real world” and that was void a contract worth millions of dollars and a guaranteed spot on TV every Sunday (at least in a local market or two). Now days we see guys like Nick Fairley get treated different and special all of their lives and get all upset when they act like the normal rules do not apply to them. Of course they don’t, society has proven to them over and over again that they don’t. I am not saying that is right (because clearly it is not) but that is the reality of this situation.

Football coaches have to do more than teach young men (and women) how to play this game. Football takes such dedication, such repetition, such time to play at a high level that football coaches become surrogate fathers to their players. Now days often times they are the lone positive male role models if the players’ life. I give Gunter Cunningham a ton of credit for saying that part of Fairley’s failures off the field is his fault. Gunther failed to prepare him for all the pitfalls that come along with being a first round pick. I am not saying Gunther deserves this criticism, but acknowledging this makes me look at him in a new light.

For those of you reading who have spent anytime around a sports team know the kind of relationship I am referring too. For those of you who haven’t it s a little hard to describe. It’s hard to put into words, but sports teams become little surrogate families with the coaching staff firmly emplaced as the parental figures.

Given that they are by definition responsible for helping these young men become wise, old men. All of Fairley sins will be forgiven if he can get on the field of play and produce, and hopefully the Lions coaching staff can help mold him into a more responsible adult.

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