Buried in the coverage of the year's first high-profile arrest was an interesting little tidbit. Since 2000, the Rams have the least number of arrests of any team in the NFL.
Those sweet little angels! So just how do the Rams stay lambs off the field?
The San Diego Union-Tribune has kept a running tab of arrests of NFL players since 2000, flagging any incident more serious than a speeding ticket.
According to their count, the Rams have had seven arrests in the last 12 years. The worst was Claude Terrell, who in 2007 was charged with assaulting his wife. The team had the good sense to cut him hours later, and mercifully before he was charged in 2011 for a horrific rape. Leonard Little made the list in 2004 for his second DUI arrest, though the far more egregious crime of broadsiding Susan Gutweiler's car while driving drunk happened back in 1998. Gutweiler died in the crash. The other five arrests involve things like a nightclub fight, failure to pay child support, and driving with a suspended license.
According to SB Nation contributor and editor of the Turf Show Times blog Ryan Van Bibber, there's a team strategy behind the numbers.
"They actively avoided players who had off-field or character concerns," he says.
That strategy has critics. Van Bibber cites the 2008 pass on superstar DeShaun Jackson in favor of Donnie Avery due to Jackson's euphemistic "off-field issues."
That philosophy seems to be changing slightly with the 2nd round pick of Janoris Jenkins, who had some herbal indiscretions in college. But Van Bibber credits La'Roi Glover, the director of player programs, for keeping cocky, fresh-out-of-college picks in line. That's a good forward thinking strategy since the NFL commissioner is showing increasing impatience with feckless players.
"They really kind of have cracked down on recent years on off-field incidents with players. The players get fined, the players get suspended, the teams get fined," says Van Bibber. "It behooves a team to have their better players on the field rather than dealing with suspensions and distractions."
All good things, especially since things are getting dicier by the day for pro-football, especially with yesterday's filing of a "master lawsuit" on behalf of 2,000 former players claiming the NFL has long known that concussions lead to long-term health problems like Alzheimer's and dementia. Former member of both the Chiefs and Rams are included.
And maybe we shouldn't be patting anyone on the back for being the least bad at a bad thing. Perhaps this is an opportune time to remind all the players to be cool. A few tips: Drugs stay at home. Drive like other human beings might be in those cars. Stop hitting women? Stop hitting women. STOP. HITTING. WOMEN.
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