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Nick Fairley on verge of 'breakout' season, says GM

Nick Fairley generated noise this offseason for all the wrong reasons, but the Detroit Lions believe the second-year defensive tackle is about to cause a great disturbance on the field.

General manager Martin Mayhew on Wednesday listed Fairley along with two other young Lions -- defensive end Willie Young and running back Jahvid Best -- as players on the verge of "breakout seasons" in Detroit's attempt for a second straight playoff appearance.

"(Fairley's) had an outstanding offseason out here on the field. Not so good off the field, but he's been outstanding in practice," Mayhew told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Fairley apologized publicly last week following his second offseason arrest. Fairley has been nabbed for possession of marijuana and driving while intoxicated and eluding authorities, part of a rash of Lions brush-ups with police in recent months

Despite Fairley's shaky offseason, which embarrassed the team and fans, we never heard whispers about him losing his roster spot. Coach Jim Schwartz came forward and ensured that wouldn't be the case. Fairley is too important to the Lions' defense and will be counted on to bolster the inside of the defensive line along with Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams.

A foot injury derailed Fairley in 2011 and his troubled offseason wasn't a help. This isn't Fairley's final chance in Detroit, but Mayhew's prediction sounds like an order here in June.

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