Sports Outside the Beltway

Lions Assistant Coach Arrested For Driving Drunk, Nude

Of all the things an NFL team needs four days before opening the regular season, this is probably number last on the list:

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit Lions assistant coach was arrested twice in the past two weeks — once while police say he was driving nude and a week later on suspicion of drunken driving.

Police in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn said Joe Cullen, who coaches the team’s defensive line, was pulled over Aug. 24 and ticketed on suspicion of indecent and obscene conduct.

The ticket does not provide any other information about why Cullen allegedly was nude. The Lions said alcohol was involved.

Then, on Sept. 1, police stopped his 2006 Ford Explorer and determined he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.12 percent, court records show. The legal limit for drivers in Michigan in 0.08 percent.

Cullen, who lives in Dearborn, posted bond in both misdemeanor cases and was coaching at Wednesday’s practice.

The 38-year-old, who was hired from the University of Illinois, issued a statement Wednesday to apologize.

“I would like to apologize to the Detroit Lions organization, our fans, my family and friends for any embarrassment these incidents have caused,” he said. “These incidents represent a mistake in judgment on my part. I deeply regret them and have learned a valuable lesson. It won’t happen again.”

Lions president Matt Millen said in a statement that Cullen has requested treatment.

“We are obviously very disappointed,” the statement said. “These are very serious matters that will be handled sternly and appropriately by our organization.”

To make a sad story worse, there’s this:

Cullen was fired from the University of Mississippi in 2005 after an alcohol-related arrest at a restaurant.

Mississippi Athletic Director Pete Boone told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday that no one from the Lions contacted him for a reference.

I’m aware that nobody really checks references any more, and employers are loath to provide any derogatory information about a former employee, but still, that juicy little tidbit isn’t going to help Matt Millen keep his job.

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