When a cannon is loose enough for a long enough period of time, nobody knows in what direction the shot will be fired -- but it's going to happen eventually. Enter Detroit Lions' center Dominic Raiola.
Raiola is supposedly a "leader" on the Lions' roster. They'll tell you so. He's also the losingest player in the history of the NFL. Even back in college at Nebraska, fresh off a national title, the team tanked when Raiola came on board the following year, and haven't been the same since. But all along, Dom has been yapping and yapping. This is who the Lions allow to be a spokesman?
A couple years ago on Thanksgiving day, Raiola yelled obscenities at the Lions' own fans in their own stadium as he was walking off the field after yet another defeat. They had just totally botched a game against the Houston Texans, the fans weren't happy, and they were letting the Lions know about it. How do I know this? Because two of those fans were young ladies, friends of yours truly, who happened to be sitting in the front row as Dom exited the field. When they arrived back home for turkey dinner an hour later with "mom" and I, we heard all about it. This was a low class move. For a professional athlete to shout obscenities at fans, even on the road, is a no-no. But to do it to one's own fans when they express their disapproval of their team's poor play is even lower.
Finally the loose cannon went off, again. This time he stomped a Chicago Bear who was down on the field. No doubt, the league will review the incident and Raiola could be facing a two game suspension. If so, that would put him out of the Lions' season finale at Green Bay and the first playoff game.
Teammate Ndamukong Suh made the infamous list a few years ago with his own stomp of a Green Bay Packer on Thanksgiving. He would follow that up the following year by kicking a Houston Texan quarterback in the groin, again on turkey day -- which was the very same day Raiola went off on the pretty girls mentioned above. Suh's never won anything either. Funny, or maybe not, how both Raiola and Suh played at Nebraska in college. Is this what they teach in Lincoln? Stomp, kick, deny, and trash talk? Or does that only happen once they've been in Detroit for a while? Granted, Detroit's an armpit city as big cities go but, c'mon, these guys are pros and are getting paid millions of dollars to act like it.
New head coach Jim Caldwell seems to be a virtuous guy. He's preaching all the right things to his team, and their record has certainly improved in his first year. And to his further credit, we haven't seen a parade of Lions on police blotters lately for various reasons.
But when you have a loose cannon (dirty player/cheap shot history) in your midst, especially one that has absorbed as many losses as Raiola has over the years, it's only a matter of time before the damn thing goes off again.
And I think that's where I came in.