Jim Schwartz's message to team was simple: offseason will set the tone for 2013

Posted Dec 31, 2012

According to some players, one of head coach Jim Schwartz's prevailing messages to his team Monday was to not let the same distractions that overtook news headlines during the 2012 offseason be a distraction again this year.

Head coach Jim Schwartz talked about a range of topics during the final team meeting of the 2012 season on Monday, according to some players.

One of his prevailing messages was to not let the same distractions that overtook news headlines during the 2012 offseason be a distraction again this year.

Receiver Nate Burleson said the message from Schwartz was clear.

"If you want to be that guy you most likely won't be putting on a Lions jersey in 2013," Burleson said of Schwartz's message.

"(Let's) hope that guys learned from this past offseason and understand the distractions that followed us into training camp hurt us a little bit."

Burleson was referring to the multiple offseason arrests of Mikel Leshoure, Nick Fairley and Aaron Berry that became a huge distraction. There was also an incident involving Titus Young at a team workout in which he allegedly punched teammate Louis Delmas.

Berry's two incidents (DUI and brandishing a weapon) ended up costing him his job with the Lions.

Leshoure was suspended the first two games of the season for two possession of marijuana citations.

Fairley is still working through the Alabama justice system on his DUI charge. His misdeamenor marijuana possession charge was dropped.

"I think it certainly affected the view of the team," Schwartz told the media Monday when asked how the negative headlines in the offseason might have carried over into the season.

"We said all along that it was a select few players and it affected the whole bunch. It became a topic of discussion for people to have to deal with. Anytime that you take focus away from the game that's coming up, or the process of OTAs, or the process of training camp and the urgency to improve and you divide players attention, I think it can have an effect."

Schwartz said the biggest effect was the image and stereotype placed on the team.

"That dye was cast and it became an item with players and dealing with the media and everything else," he said. "That's the unfortunate thing – it just divided the focus of the team. It couldn't always be on the team. They were always answering those kind of questions."

Receiver Ryan Broyles said Schwartz's message was simple.

"Just to be smart this offseason," he said. "That basically set the tone for last year with the incidents that happened and we have to start off the offseason and come back with a new spirit."