I just got off the phone with one of my boys in the know. He is in the room with the Detroit Lions and knows a thing or two about the Titus Young situation.
Why is Titus Young away from the team? Why did he melt down during the second half of the Lions 24-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He did not tell me at first. Instead he asked me a question.
“Who is missing in our dressing room? Or rather who has not been around that much?”
I did not guess at first. But then it came to me.
“Right,” he said.
It was explained to me this way. Young has been a loose cannon ever since he stepped into that dressing room. He is a “me” player and must learn the team concept. He thinks he is better than he actually is and believes he is right and the Lions are wrong. There is a big fat I in Titus, but he does not understand team.
Guys have tried to reach out to him. The guy that did the best job was Burleson. But Nate was injured a few weeks ago and is trying to rehab and get himself ready for next season. He wants to play for the Lions next season. If he cannot play he’d like to stick around as a coach. Burleson was not perfect in his attempts to harness and monitor Young but he does better than anybody else.
Burleson is a team guy. He is a glue guy. But without him around Young began to unravel again. He got cocky and disruptive. It boiled on the field when he made foolish and selfish decisions. That is why we saw wide receiver coach Shawn Jefferson yelling at offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. He did not want plays going to Young. He didn’t even want him in the game. Linehan agreed but the decision came too late.
We will never know but Young might have cost the Lions an important football game. People sometimes laugh when you talk about needing veterans in the dressing room even if their game isn’t what it used to be. This is a classic example why. I am willing to bet this never happens if Burleson is in the dressing room and more engaged with Young than he has been.
Yes, Burleson was at the game. But the seeds were planted for Young’s melt down during the week. Now do you give up on a guy like Young? If he needs Burleson to be his babysitter maybe you do. But here is my prediction. If you do not see Burleson on the Lions roster next season you won’t see Young either.
And even if Burleson returns there is no guarantee Young returns.