Lions’ Quinn says character counts in building team

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Lions general manager Bob Quinn.

Allen Park — The Lions hired Bob Quinn as general manager with hopes that he could build a more talented roster and give the team a chance to contend more than it has in the past half century.

But, in addition to evaluating the talent of players, Quinn said character will play an important role in who comes to Detroit.

“It’s a big point of emphasis, so that’s definitely going to be taken into account on every draft pick, every free agent signing that we take,” he said after his news conference Monday.

With Quinn in place as general manager, don’t expect the Lions to sign Greg Hardy, Ray Rice or other players who have had off-field issues related to sexual assault.

“The two things that are zero tolerance are domestic violence and dangerous weapons,” Quinn said. “Those are two things I’m not going to stand for, I don’t believe in. That’s how I feel.”

The Lions have put a premium on targeting high-character players in recent years, particularly after a string of crimes in the 2012 offseason.

Although the multiple arrests of former receiver Titus Young reflected poorly on the Lions, the team has had just three player arrests since 2012, and the charges against one, former safety Amari Spievey were dropped. And when former guard Rodney Austin was arrested on misdemeanor domestic violence charges, the Lions cut him almost immediately.

The Patriots have been similarly quiet off the field the past couple years, but former tight end Aaron Hernandez being convicted on a first-degree murder charge from 2013 obviously cast a cloud on the organization.

According the San Diego Union-Tribune’s database, only two other New England players have been arrested since 2011. Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was convicted in 2012 for third-degree felony assault of a police officer, and in 2013, he pleaded no contest for refusing a chemical test and had a driving under the influence charge dismissed. New England waived him last May.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes pleaded guilty to charges related to a hit-and-run in June 2015. The Patriots cut him shortly after the incident.