Every now and then you see the a guy just good enough not to be good enough to play in the league, a fringe player who doesn’t realize his situation and acts like a super star. Through hard work he may even find himself at the bottom of the roster when cut time comes. This man we have no reason of knowing other than he’s almost really good at a game, becomes beloved because in some small way he represents the every man.
That’s a James Mungro Memorial Award Winner. But every now and then you see a player exactly the opposite. A player like Titus Young.
From the minute the Lions drafted him, we knew who Titus Young was. Mel Kiper spouting off his acceleration numbers, his 4.4 40-yard dash, how he wasn’t quite on the same level of slot receiver/all-around playmaker as DeSean Jackson, but he was close.
Young got off the phone and stared straight into the camera set up at his house, broadcasting the family’s reaction to the homes of the way too many people across the country that do things like watch the second-round of the NFL Draft. He sat there and did something that won over fans before he even touched down in the Motor City. He cried.
After a first round that saw Nick Fairley basically sulk to the podium, here was this good-lookin’ kid, who unlike dozens of players before him, unconditionally wanted to be in Detroit. Apparently he had some sort of family connection.
Young played in all 16 games his rookie year, starting nine of them. He caught 48 passes for 607 yards and six touchdowns. The production came almost quietly, with only bits of the flash most were expecting.
Over the course of that season, Young lost his titles of ‘Rookie happy to be in Detroit’ and the ‘Guy Who Cried On National Television on Draft Day.’ He simply became a Lion. Those good feelings may have lingered slightly, but the love for Young wasn’t much different than any other Lion.
He was suspended from offseason workouts. All of the sudden his suspension at Boise State became an issue again. The narrative flipped from feel-good to takedown.
Then it found its resting place in the middle, in page 150 of the narrative, a sort of redemption story coming out of an all too memorable past.
Young had a baby. He started putting Young Sr. on his jersey. From the outside, he appeared over what was just an isolated incident.
He fit right in to a team that has spent the season underachieving on its — some would say too lofty — expectations. Young has 383 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 10 games played (eight starts). Almost the same number of starts, almost half the production. Just a Lion again.
Now he’s the malcontent, the trouble maker once again. Suspended nine days for what was basically insubordination, Young finally returned to practice on Wednesday.
All the troubles seem so new. We’ve only know the guy for a year and a half. But us, we’re on the outside.
This is complete speculation, but maybe the Lions front office knew something before everything came out. Maybe they foresaw this happening. Maybe they selected a near clone of him in the second round last year for a reason.
Titus Young, WR, 5-11, 174 pounds.
Ryan Broyles, WR, 5-10, 188 pounds.
Or maybe it was just a case of adding another weapon for Matthew Stafford when the Lions went to one of their many four-receiver sets.
Either way, there aren’t many options for Titus Young Sr. Sooner rather than later, the man who started with so much goodwill will leave town with a heaping pile of disgrace on his back.
That is something to cry about.