The Detroit Lions did not waste any time on Monday.
On the first day teams could make roster moves after the 2012 season ended with the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the Lions released Titus Young, the immensely talented and seemingly irredeemably troubled wide receiver who the team had sent home three different times in 2012.
The Lions took Young with the 43rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft after the wideout had a solid, but checkered, career at Boise State.
Young was suspended for most of the 2008 season, his sophomore year at Boise State, because of what was termed conduct detrimental to the team, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. He finished his career with the Broncos in 2010 as the school’s career leader in receiving yards with 3,063 and spoke before that season about being grateful for a second chance.
Prior to the draft, Young answered any questions teams had about his off-the-field issues by saying that, “You learn to be resilient, learn from your mistakes.”
Young went on to have a solid rookie year with 48 catches for 607 yards and six touchdowns and had emerged as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver opposite All-Pro Calvin Johnson.
There were hints of trouble as a rookie; during a key game at New Orleans in December of his rookie year, Young single-handedly stopped a potential scoring drive by shoving a Saints player in the back of the head … right in front of an official.
Then came 2012 and problems aplenty for Young.
It started during offseason workouts, when Young was sent home in May after sucker-punching teammate Louis Delmas.
During a November loss to the Green Bay Packers, Young intentionally lined up in the wrong spot on the field and was sent home for a week.
When he returned, he didn’t last long; the team told him to get lost because he was creating such a distraction in the locker room.
Last month, Young took to Twitter to lash out at fans and the team. His Twitter rants ended when he basically demanded to be cut. On Monday, the Lions granted him his wish.
But here’s how out of touch Young is.
E.C. Robinson, who coached Young at University High School in Los Angeles, told the Detroit Free Press that the wide receiver came to his home on Christmas and the two discussed Young’s problems with the Lions.
The coach told the newspaper that, during that meeting, Young boasted that he was better than Johnson.
By cutting Young, the Lions don’t owe him anymore guaranteed money but will take a $900,000 hit against the salary cap for this season.
Will he have any trouble getting another NFL gig? Probably not.
Young is undeniably talented and, well, coaches are among the biggest egomaniacs in the world. One of them will believe that he is the guy to save Young.
Whether that actually works out or not depends as much on what’s going on in Titus Young’s head as much as anything that happens between the white lines.