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The “Worst Non-Active Player” in Lions History? SI Makes Their Selection

Charles Rogers talks to the press

Sports Illustrated has put out a piece on the “Worst non-active player by franchise” for each and every franchise, the Lions included.

The player that the author the piece, Doug Farrar, picked was a memorable player for all the wrong reasons – that being wide out Charles Rogers.

Charles Rogers
WR, Detroit Lions

You knew Detroit’s entry into this competition would be a member of a Matt Millen draft class, and few did less with more than Rogers, who Millen took with the No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft. And what did the Lions get for the man they took with Andre Johnson still on the board? (Note: The Texans selected Johnson with the No. 3 pick). They got a star from Michigan State who was completely unprepared for the realities of the NFL. Rogers did catch 22 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie season before a broken clavicle ended his 2003 campaign, and then suffered the same injury early in the ’04 season. Rogers was so distraught over the recurrence that he asked to rehab at home. Millen allowed this, which he later admitted was a mistake.

Rogers had a history of failed drug tests while in college, and this caught up to him in 2005, when he was suspended four games for multiple violations of the NFL’s drug policy. This put Rogers in default of the contract he signed, and the Lions asked Rogers to pay back $10 million of the $14.2 in bonuses he received. In 2008 (the same day owner William Clay Ford finally fired Millen), an arbitrator ruled that Rogers had to repay the team about $8.5 million, and he was in no condition to do so, after he couldn’t find work with another NFL team. He found himself in repeated trouble with the law, and has struggled with drugs and alcohol. A sad story all around. Rogers finished his NFL career with 36 catches for 440 yards and four touchdowns.


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