Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Millen man who owes fans apology

Detroit Lions wideout Charles Rogers flunks a drug test and is suspended four games for substance abuse.

Business as usual in the NFL. Rules are rules.

Matt Millen goes 16-48 in his first four years as Lions president and receives a five-year contract extension from owner William Clay Ford.

Business as usual for the Lions. Rules for fools.

Rogers penned a three-paragraph public apology delivered to Lions fans, via the media.

It read, in part, "I will make no excuses for what I did, and I accept full responsibility for my actions. I have no choice but to look forward, learn from my mistakes and do everything in my power not to repeat those mistakes."

Rogers, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft out of Michigan State, did everything but get down on his hands and knees and offer to return some of his $14 million signing bonus.

Rogers had a total of 22 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns in his first two seasons after breaking his collarbone twice.

So far this year, he has five catches for 77 yards.

Rogers' problems are symptomatic of a bigger problem confronting the Lions: Millen.

Rogers is the sixth first-round draft pick made by Millen - incredibly, all offensive players, some who have yet to perform like first-rounders.

Other top Millen draft picks not meeting expectations include quarterback Joey Harrington and tackle Jeff Backus.

Running back Kevin Jones has an asterisk beside his name because he isn't being utilized properly.

Selecting Roy Williams one year after drafting Rogers was a questionable move but made sense only because the Lions wanted bookend talent at wideout.

But taking Mike Williams one year after Roy Wiliams and two years after Rogers made no sense because of the Lions' sudden depth at wideout and glaring defensive needs.

Going into Sunday's home game against Baltimore, Harrington has an anemic 57.3 passer rating and the Lions rank last in the NFC in scoring offense, averaging 12 points per game.

If the Lions aren't victims of an incredible set of unfortunate coincidences that transforms talented players into the Stepford Lions, then Millen is a lousy talent evaluator.

Either way, Millen is culpable.

He drafted the players.

And he hired coach Steve Mariucci.

If the Lions' talent is sufficient, but the players aren't reaching their potential or not playing in the right system, the blame is all Millen's because he signed off on the players and the coaching staff.

In a perfect world, Millen would issue a public apology on behalf of his 1-2 Lions.

It would read, in part, "Rather than point fingers, I accept full responsibility for my careless disregard for spending Bill Ford's money on linemen who can't block, wideouts who can't catch and a quarterback who can't throw. I have no choice but to change my draft strategy, swallow my pride, learn from my mistakes, and focus on improving the defense from this day forward."

There's plenty of blame to go around with these Lions. But first you have to blame the man whose bank account continues to grow as the losses pile up.

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