The Buffalo Bills received some bad news on Tuesday when it was announced that star defensive lineman Marcell Dareus would be suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Usually when something like this happens a team will release a statement expressing some level of disappointment but also support while vowing to help their player get through his travails.
The Bills, though, took a unique approach, expressing anger and essentially calling Dareus selfish in a statement that blasted the player late on Tuesday:
“We are very disappointed Marcell chose to put himself first, before his teammates, coaches and the rest of the organization through his recent actions. From ownership down we have made it clear his behavior is unacceptable. We will continue to take the necessary steps to work with him in order that he adheres to the policies set forth by our league. As an organization, we will move forward with our preparations for the start of the 2016 NFL season in Baltimore on September 11.”
This is the second year in a row that the Bills have been without Dareus to start the season. Last season, he missed their season-opener after he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. The Bills open the season against Baltimore, the New York Jets, Arizona and New England, not an easy road even if you’re at full strength, let alone when you’re without one of your best players.
That could be why the team is so frustrated. Especially when you consider that they talked with him about this after last year’s incident. Especially when you consider that they are paying him $7.9 million this season and have another $61.7 million left on his mammoth contract.
You pay that kind of money to a player because he is important to what you’re trying to do, and when you pay that kind of money to a player you want him on the field. The Bills are upset and they’re letting Dareus know it by calling him out publicly.
This could have a number of different results. Dareus could take it as a wakeup call, cut the off-the-field nonsense out of his life and rededicate himself to football. It could also cause Dareus to check out. That’s the chance the Bills appear willing to take, as they clearly don’t want a Josh Gordon on their hands.
So far the results are good, as Dareus issued an extensive apology on Instagram. He expressed “deepest regrets” for letting down the franchise and the fans. He declined to make excuses but said he was dedicated to bringing a championship to Buffalo. (You can read the entire statement here).
Dareus will have to prove that on the field of course, once he eventually returns. The Bills are upset and rightly so after losing one of their best players for the first quarter of the season. Dareus let his team down and the team let him know it.
How he reacts to the suspension and the public scolding could determine his future in the league, or at least with Buffalo.