Dec 2, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Indianapolis Colts strong safety Joe Lefeged (35) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Is there really something wrong with the Colts? Multiple players have had issues this offseason, but is it a serious issue or just a few unfortunate incidents?
Two players have been hit with suspensions for substance abuse and another was arrested on gun charges.
Wide receiver LaVon Brazill was suspended late last month for the first four games of the season. It was the second time he violated the league’s substance abuse policy (meaning he tested positive for marijuana).
Safety Joe Lefeged was arrested on gun-related charges on June 29th in Washington DC. The circumstances of his arrest are odd and he might be facing some jail time.
Tight end Weslye Saunders was suspended for eight games for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drugs policy.
Brazill’s suspension could have been easily avoided. It takes two positive tests to be suspended, therefore he knew this was a possibility and now its going to cost him $113,000. Brazill wasn’t particularly impressive in his rookie season, but he did have a few impressive catches. He only caught 11 passes for 186 yards and a single touchdown. He did have an impressive 16.9 yards per catch but was targeted 24 times. He was very much in competition to be the teams fourth string receiver, and now will have an uphill battle after missing the first four games of the season. Hopefully this suspension will serve as a wakeup call and he will stop smoking his was out of the league.
Lefeged was considered a possibility at safety before the Colts signed LeRon Landry. Lefeged an exceptional special teams player and high on the safety depth chart. His arrest circumstances are a bit odd. The gun in question is registered in Maryland, but he was stopped in DC which has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country. Reports indicate that he was a passenger and that the driver sped off during a routine traffic stop. His status with the Colts will depend on the how this shakes out. It would be premature of the Colts to cut him before his hearing, its not like he was arrested for murder.
Saunders was likely to be the teams third or fourth string tight end. He was used last season as a blocking tight end and only caught two passes for a grand total of 15 yards. His lose will not likely be noticed. As Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener continue to develop, the Colts will be just fine at the position. His days as a Colt are probably numbered and it would be wise to cut him now and find a replacement before training camp starts. Its hard to imagine keeping a player on the team for half the season even if he won’t count against the 53-man roster during his suspension. It is also inexcusable to be using PEDs and is the highest form of cheating in the NFL (right up there with taping an opponents practice).
While the antics of these players is disturbing, its hardly a cause for major concern. Saunders should be gone, PED use is cheating and not something you want infecting the locker room. Lefeged and Brazill should be given a second chance, and not just because they can help the team win. Brazill is only 24 and made a dumb decision, if he screws up again he gets suspended for a whole season and definitely cut by the Colts. The team should adopt a “wait-and-see” policy with Lefeged and give the legal system time to work everything out. GM Ryan Grigson could surprise us and cut all three players, but that seems like an extreme response.
Evan Reller is a professional journalist who started out covering high school sports in Indiana in 2009. He graduated in 2011 with a Masters in Journalism from Indiana University. Reller worked with Hoosier Authority for two years and continues to do freelance reporting and videos for Vype Magazine covering high school athletes in Indiana. He has covered every major sporting event in Indiana from the Pacers and Colts to the Indianapolis 500. Most recently, he was the editor of Hoosiers101. He completed his undergrad at IU Bloomington in 2007.