Lions open to bringing back Rodney Austin

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Rodney Austin

Allen Park -- The Lions released guard Rodney Austin to distance the organization from his legal issues related to domestic violence. But general manager Martin Mayhew also said he's leaving the door open for Austin's possible return.

Austin was released Tuesday after domestic violence charges surfaced last week. Mayhew learned of the incident last Thursday when a warrant for Austin's arrest was issued.

"Talked to him, decided the best thing for us to was to move on from him," Mayhew said Friday.

Austin is accused of shoving Yvonne Gill-Sadler to the ground while holding their 9-month old daughter, but he is challenging the charges.

According to a statement this week from Austin's agent, Mark Magazu, and attorney Mark Jetton, Austin denies the charges.

"Believing these allegations to be retaliatory in nature due to an ongoing issue over child custody and disagreements over the future of their relationship, Rodney has instructed (the law firm) Jetton & Meredith to pursue civil charges against Miss Gill-Sadler for malicious prosecution, defamation of character and slander," the statement read.

According to online records from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, Austin was arrested last Friday on four misdemeanor charges: assault on a female, assault on a child under 12, larceny and interfering with emergency communication.

If Austin is cleared, he could potentially return to the Lions.

"I'm not closing the door on bringing him back, but until he gets his legal issues resolved I thought it was the best thing for us to do as a franchise, to move on," Mayhew said.

Mayhew likes Gurley

The Lions concluded their draft meetings Tuesday and hosted a local pro day Wednesday, and for the most part, Mayhew said their draft board is set in anticipation of next week's three-day NFL draft.

"There are still some guys we're taking a look at, ties to be broken, discussions to be had," Mayhew said. "It's pretty much set."

The uncertainty, of course, is where the board will be by the time the Lions draft 23rd in the first round.

"There could be a lot of guys go early we'd like to have," Mayhew said. "Every draft is different. One thing I've learned about this process is it's very unpredictable."

During an NFL Network conference call Thursday, analyst Mike Mayock said if running backs Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin or Georgia's Todd Gurley are available, they'd be tough to pass up. Gurley is coming off an ACL injury and also was suspended four games last season by the NCAA for accepting more than $3,000 for autographs.

The Lions released running back Reggie Bush.

"From a talent standpoint, he's an outstanding prospect without question," Mayhew said of Gurley. "I spent some time with him, I know people down in Georgia, I've done research on him."