The murder mystery scandal surrounding tight end Aaron Hernandez has already infected the usually stable and stoic New England Patriots franchise. With such shocking events affecting one of the most productive teams in the NFL, it tends to shine a light on the possibility of problematic character issues for the other teams in the league.
The Indianapolis Colts have tried to build their team around high-character players and coaches for a long time. In fact, Tony Dungy and Chuck Pagano, former and current head coaches for the Colts, have been well-known for their charitable work off of the field and stable work environment on it. Both Pagano and Dungy have been honored with the George S. Halas Courage Award, which represents an NFL employee who has succeeded in the face of overwhelming adversity. Still, there is only so much a coach or a team can do to corral their players on the field. It is up to the players to represent the shield of the NFL respectfully while they are away from the confines of the field.
The news that second-year wide out LaVon Brazill has been suspended for violating the NFL substance abuse policy is nowhere near as bad as the dark cloud looming over the Patriots right now, but it still raises a few questions concerning some of the Colts’ newer acquisitions. Brazill’s four-game suspension was unexpected, but perhaps it should have the Colts looking a bit deeper at some other players on their roster. Some of the new players who were added to the Colts through NFL free agency this year have also had character clashes in the past with their former teams, but the Colts hope to corral these issues for the future.
Newly acquired running back Ahmad Bradshaw won two Super Bowl titles as a member of the New York Giants, but also had his fair share of legal problems previously. In college, Bradshaw was busted for underage drinking and resisting arrest. Two years later, he was charged with petty larceny for stealing a Playstation from another student.
New Colts wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey has also been known as bit of a malcontent, but that may have most likely been due to the fact that he has spent his entire four-year career with the Oakland Raiders. Heyward-Bey, who was selected with the 7th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, was surprisingly disappointing in Oakland. As a member of the Colts, Heyward-Bey will not have to live up to his high-draft expectations, but he will be expected to produce more than he has in the past.
The Colts should use the Brazil suspension as a wake up call to possibly pay a bit more attention to what their players are capable of.