ALLEN PARK, Mich. — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell respects the due process players in the league are entitled to if they’re arrested.
Goodell just knows he doesn’t have to wait for court cases to play out to determine how to discipline those he thinks have tarnished the league’s image.
“We don’t by policy, particularly if there’s a pattern of behavior,” Goodell said Thursday during a visit to Lions training camp. “If there is not a pattern, we certainly do acknowledge the legal process and want to be respectful of that.”
The NFL has already suspended Detroit running back Mikel Leshoure for two games for off-field conduct.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley likely will have to sit at some point this season, too.
Fairley has two scheduled days in court, including one in late November, after getting arrested in Alabama twice in two months.
The 2011 first-round pick has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence and attempting to elude police charges after troopers say in May he was driving about 100 mph and initially refused to pull over. He is scheduled for trial beginning on Aug. 14 on those charges, potentially putting him in a court room between Detroit’s first and second preseason games.
Fairley also faces a hearing on Nov. 27 — two days after the Lions’ 11th game — on a marijuana possession charge from April.
Goodell said he planned to meet with Fairley and Leshoure.
Fairley refused to say if he would lobby for leniency.
“I can’t talk about that, but I look forward to talking to him,” Fairley said after Thursday’s practice.
Leshoure, who pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in May in one of two marijuana-related charges he faced, said a letter he got this offseason informed him of his suspension without much input from him.
“I’m not really for sure how that all went down,” he said. “I just know I was given my punishment, and I dealt with it. I’ve learned from it. I knew there was going to be some kind of repercussion from it.”
The Lions didn’t wait for Goodell to punish cornerback Aaron Berry or offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath after both had run-ins with the law, cutting both players. Berry was arrested during the offseason on suspicion of DUI and again after authorities say he brandished a weapon. Culbreath was arrested for marijuana possession. Goodell said Berry and Culbreath are still subject to punishment from the league.
Just when the Lions (No. 11 in the AP Pro32) thought their off-the-field woes were over heading into training camp, they recently found out defensive tackle Corey Williams was charged with drunken-driving last year.
Browns sold to truck-stop magnate
Here’s one to make Cleveland fans shake their heads: A partial owner of the hated Pittsburgh Steelers is buying the Browns.
Randy Lerner has reached a deal to sell the club to Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam III — a minority stockholder in the rival Steelers.
Lerner will sell 70 percent of the Browns to Haslam now, with the other 30 percent reverting to him four years after the closing date, a person with knowledge of the sale told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details have not officially been announced.
“This is a very exciting time for my family and me,” Haslam said through the team.
“To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL — something all Browns fans want and deserve.”
Haslam scheduled a news conference at Browns headquarters for Friday afternoon.
Panthers terminate contract of OT Jeff Otah
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The Carolina Panthers have announced they’ve terminated the contract of offensive tackle Jeff Otah, a former first-round draft pick.
Carolina dealt Otah to the New York Jets on July 23 for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2013, but the trade was rescinded after Otah failed a physical, and he reverted back to the Panthers roster.
The Panthers selected the 6-foot-7, 335-pound Otah with the 19th pick in the 2008 NFL draft and he played well his first two seasons with the team. However, Otah struggled with knee problems and missed 31 of the last 35 games due to injury, finishing the last three seasons on injured reserve. Byron Bell is expected to start at right tackle for Carolina.
The Panthers also announced they’ve signed journeyman cornerback Nate Ness.
Jets quash tensions over Cromartie comments
CORTLAND, N.Y. — Rex Ryan put a quick end to a budding controversy.
The New York Jets coach addressed his players during a meeting Wednesday, reminding them to “be mindful” of what they say in public in the wake of cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s remarks that he’d rank himself the second-best wide receiver on the team.
A day after wide receiver Chaz Schilens said he felt the comment was a “slight” to the players at his position, he backtracked Thursday, saying he cleared the air with Cromartie.
“Antonio Cromartie is a hell of an athlete,” Schilens said with a smile. “He could play wide receiver anytime he wants to.”