“We have repeatedly stressed to everyone in our organization that there will be appropriate consequences when an expected standard of behavior is not upheld,” Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement.
The move is not an unexpected one after Berry reportedly found himself in trouble with Pennsylvania law enforcement over the weekend. It is alleged Berry pointed a gun at some patrons outside of a bar and is now being charged with simple assault. The crime is not the first time Berry has found himself in trouble, either.
Just a month prior, Berry was arrested under the suspicion of DUI in Harrisburg, Pa. and was charged with two counts of accidental damage when he hit parked cars and two counts of failure to stop and provide information to law enforcement when he fled the scene of the accidents. He eventually pled out to lesser charges and entered into a program.
Prior to his legal trouble, Berry found himself on the wrong end of the court of public opinion after the Lions’ first round playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints. After he failed to make several plays, including an interception, he responded to public criticism of his play. In a tweet hours after the game he said, “Y’all can go back to being Broke & Miserable… now back to regularly scheduled programming…” He would later apologize saying “I apologize to my loyal fans for my tweet… jus disgusting how ppl can get when they don’t know nothin at all…”
An undrafted product out of the University of Pittsburgh, Berry was expected to be a major contributor to the Lions’ secondary this year. He started his rookie season with a bang, recording three tackles and an interception in a loss against the Chicago Bears in 2010. He would suffer an injury in the game and lost the rest of his rookie season. Last year saw Berry play more games, 11, but only recorded 31 tackles with no interceptions and 11 pass deflections.
The loss is a great one for a Lions secondary that struggled last year, but the team did draft three different corners this year. While it looked as if there would be some time for them to learn the game, the loss of Berry may mean several of them may be called on earlier than anticipated. As it stands right now, Jacob Lacey, signed from the Indianpolis Colts earlier in the offseason, could slot into Berry’s vacated position; Alphonso Smith would be another possibility.