Titus Young kept his sunglasses on when he met reporters Friday for the first time since he was sent home from the Lions practice facility last week, perhaps to shield his eyes from the truth that his days with the team that bought his rehabilitation act coming out of college are numbered.
Young talked for less than 2 minutes before a team public-relations person cut off an uncomfortable interview session. He took nine questions, answered eight all in one sentence or less and did little to make anyone think his time away from the team humbled him in any way.
Moody and immature off the field and toxic on it, theres no reason the Lions should give Young a fourth chance to pollute a locker room that mostly has its priorities straight.
Considered a character risk coming out of Boise State, Youngs problems came to a head two weeks ago when he purposely lined up in the wrong place multiple times on the field and mouthed off to receivers coach Shawn Jefferson as he walked off it.
The Lions benched Young for the rest of that game and all of last week, and when he returned to practice without apologizing to teammates Wednesday, they welcomed him with leery eyes and half-open arms.
He sat in the back of stretching lines, went last in most receiver drills, and when he stayed late at practice to catch balls by himself off a machine, it looked suspiciously like someone slapping a new coat of paint on the outside of their house but never bothering to open the door and clean up the mess inside.
Young wouldnt talk about his antics against the Packers, why he was sent home or how he can be trusted going forward Friday, saying Im not here to talk about that past and insisting what happens in house stays in house.
Only with Young, it doesnt, because he hasnt done enough to earn the respect of a locker room that has one of the all-time greats in Calvin Johnson, the model of what a receiver should be.
Last year, Young was benched for most of the second half of a December loss to the Saints after he was called for a personal foul near the goal line. Two other Lions received personal fouls in the game, but coach Jim Schwartz only felt the need to punish Young, whose me-first attitude was already starting to wear thin.
This spring, Young was banished from the team facility for more than a week after he sucker-punched teammate Louis Delmas, and on Friday another locker-room leader, center Dominic Raiola, told the Detroit News that Young wasnt a distraction because players had moved on from him.
If he wants to be a (bleeping bleep), let him be a (bleeping bleep), Raiola said.
Jefferson, who has defended Young publicly before, declined comment about the receiver and his antics Friday, and Schwartz said this week hed take a wait-and-see approach but never expressed optimism when asked how confident he was that Youngs behavior problems were over.
Just 23 and in his second season, Young has enough redeeming qualities as a receiver to be a good player in the NFL, though probably not the star he imagines.
Maybe General Manager Martin Mayhew can get some team to part ways with a late-round pick for him this offseason. Maybe the Lions truly believe they can reach him, as president Tom Lewand implied Tuesday when he trumpeted the organizations ability to help players mature.
But teammates and coaches dont trust him, and Raiola isnt the only one whod rather not have him around.
It has become painfully clear its time for Young and the Lions to move on.