Allen Park — Dan Campbell is grateful something worse didn’t happen. The Detroit Lions coach is thankful everyone is alive.
After former cornerback Alex Brown allegedly got behind the wheel of his car with what prosecutors say they believe was a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit, causing an accident that injured two others, including teammate Charlie Taumoepeau, Campbell said players have to be smarter about their decisions, particularly when it comes to drinking and driving.
“It was an awful incident, awful accident, and it’s something we certainly don’t condone,” Campbell said. “We brought it up (in a team meeting) because it’s one of those eye-openers. Man, 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 when you know you’re going out. Just Uber. Uber to go out there, Uber to come home.
“It’s an awful accident,” Campbell continued. “Look, man, we’re praying for Charlie. Looks like he’s getting out of the woods here, but this is tough.”
Brown, 24, was arraigned in 36th District Court in Detroit on Tuesday in connection with the crash, and is charged with two counts of operating while under the influence causing serious injury and two counts of reckless driving causing serious injury.
Campbell said the staff’s message resonated with the players, while also emphasizing the resources the Lions have put in place to help the roster through off-field issues.
“This is one of the reasons that (general manager) Brad (Holmes) and I have made some of the moves we have with our player development and (mental skills specialist) Dr. (Michelle) Garvin and (co-director of player engagement) Jessica (Gray), just to have the resources to talk about all these things, and the issues that do pop up — particularly for young players
“The only way to address it is to talk about it head on,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately, something like this happens, but hopefully maybe someone in that room learned from it. You’ve gotta highlight it. You can’t turn away from it and hide from it. You just gotta state it for what it is and just let them know it’s not OK.”
In previous years, NFL teams would be housed in a hotel during training camp with a curfew, potentially preventing this incident. But Campbell noted the NFL did away with curfews during the pandemic, and the accident took place on a the players’ off-day regardless.
A somber Campbell, in stark contrast to his typical high-energy attitude, said he turns to prayer when dealing with adversity.
“Yeah, I pray, that’s what I do, because that’s the only way you get through stuff like this,” he said. “I pray and I’ll be ready for practice today. But yeah, there’s no laughter and giggles right now.”