Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell on Alex Brown accident: ‘We’re lucky nobody died’

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions do not have a curfew in place during this summer’s training camp due to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, and even if they did, coach Dan Campbell said it likely would not have kept cornerback Alex Brown from injuring two people in a wrong-way car accident early Sunday morning.

Brown, who was waived by the Lions hours after the incident, was arraigned on four felonies in 36th district court Tuesday after he drove the wrong way down a freeway and crashed into an oncoming car.

His former teammate, Charlie Taumoepeau, a passenger in the crash, remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

“It’s an awful incident and awful accident and it’s something certainly we don’t condone, and we brought it up (to our players) cause it’s one of those eye-openers,” Campbell said. “It’s not OK to jump in a car after you drink because bad things happen. That’s what Uber’s out there for. Don’t even take your car. … Just Uber. Uber when you’re going out there, come home.”

Campbell said NFL rules instituted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic make it impossible to keep an enforceable curfew.

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Teams cannot mandate that players stay at a hotel during training camp, though they still provide rooms for players who need them.

Had the Lions had a curfew in place, Campbell said it would not have been enforced Saturday night as the players had Sunday off.

The Lions created a player wellness division this offseason that Campbell said he hopes will help prevent incidents like Brown’s accident in the future.

Brown was arrested around 2:14 a.m. Sunday on two counts of operating while under the influence causing serious injury and two counts of reckless driving causing serious injury after he drove the wrong way on southbound I-75 near I-375 in Detroit.

He struck a 27-year-old Detroit man’s car head-on, causing injury to the man’s legs. Taumoepeau was removed from Brown’s vehicle with the jaws of life, placed on a backboard and in a cervical collar and transported to a local hospital.

Assistant Wayne County prosecutor Brian Johnson said in a Zoom hearing Tuesday that Brown had a blood alcohol level .211, well over the legal limit of 0.8, and “thought he was in Atlanta, Ga, (coming from) a strip club” at the time of the accident.

“This is one of the reasons that we’ve (added the player development), just to have the resources available to talk about all these things and the issues that do pop up, particularly for young players,” Campbell said. “This was a young player and a couple young players. And the only way to address it is to talk about it head on. And unfortunately something like this happens that hopefully maybe somebody else in that room will learn from it. You just, you got to highlight it, you can’t turn away from it and hide from it, you just got to stay for what it is and just let them know it’s not OK and we’re lucky nobody died is what we are.”

Asked how he got through a rough 48 hours, that also included the first-round of roster cuts and the release of long-time long snapper Don Muhlbach, Campbell said through prayer.

“I pray, that’s what I do,” he said. “That’s the only way you can get through stuff like this. So that’s what I do. I pray and I’ll be ready for practice. But yeah, there’s no laughter and giggles right now after those two stories.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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