Nick Fairley to receive fatherly tutelage from Lions DC

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Nick Fairley has spent most of this offseason generating headaches for the Detroit Lions. The organization has been criticized for failing to discipline the second-year defender for multiple arrests, but defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham plans to take a hands-on approach.

"As far as Nick is concerned, he knows this is going to be personal between the two of us," Cunningham told the Detroit Free Press on Monday. "And I say that like a father. I'm going to do whatever I can to help him and I know the organization's done that and so has everybody else. He was surprised because I didn't tongue-lash him for about two hours. But I knew he'd already gotten that from eight different people. So I took the approach that I'm going to take care of him."

Fairley was arrested in May for driving while intoxicated and eluding police. In April, he was arrested for possession of marijuana. He's among four of Detroit's 2011 draft picks that have made headlines this offseason for all the wrong reasons. 

The upshot: The team has allowed Fairley to participate in organized team activities and stated publicly he isn't in danger of losing his spot in the lineup. Mixed messages abound, but the team believes Fairley will find a way to settle in. If he doesn't, Cunningham won't be far behind.

"As much as I possibly can, personally, I told him wherever he is I'm going to go find him," Cunningham told the newspaper. "If I have to go see his family, whatever I have to do to get him squared away. Some of these kids, they come from different areas. They're not all from Birmingham. They come from tough, tough backgrounds. And the thing about Nick that really throws you -- and I can't speak for (Mikel) Leshoure (arrested twice for marijuana possession), but I really like him as well -- is I want them to succeed in the worst way."

Fairley hasn't done enough on the field to wander with a long leash, but the team needs him, and that's taken priority here. Of course, depending on how the league responds to Fairley's colorful spring, Cunningham might be without his defensive tackle for part of the season. Until that's decided, Cunningham's focus isn't on pending punishments -- it's on destroying the quarterback, and teaching Fairley to do so.

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