The Baltimore Ravens released Bernard Pierce today, just hours after the running back was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
The starting running back job was his for the taking after the Ray Rice debacle. He entered the 2014 season as the starter, but literally could not run away with the job. His days in Baltimore may have been numbered, and this incident escalated the move.
I have known Pierce from our shared years at Temple University. There was no denying that he had the tools to make the NFL. He single-handedly brought Temple football back to mediocracy after years of turmoil. I vividly remember the game in which he dominated the Maryland Terrapins with 147 yards and five touchdowns.
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Then there is the person. He was a nightmare to get to interview. He would never answer the phone. Not show up for scheduled interviews. He would rush out of the stadium following bad games. Gloat when he played well. It was always about Bernard.
So it comes as no surprise to me that he was only thinking of himself last night.
According to Baltimore County police, Officer Kindervater stopped Pierce’s 2014 Ford Mustang on Dulaney Valley Road at 2 a.m. after the officer’s radar showed that Pierce was going 55 mph in a 30 mph zone. At that point, Kindervater noticed “an odor of an alcoholic beverage from his breath” and conducted the standard field sobriety test. Pierce failed the exam, and was subsequently arrested.
To make matters worse, he opened his mouth.
"“Do you know what happened the last time a Ravens player got a DUI?” Pierce told the officer. “I’m getting cut tomorrow, not like you care.”"
There are certain things people should ask a cop. This is certainly not one of them. The real question to be asked here is what was Pierce thinking?
First, yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. A day notorious for drinking. It is also notoriously known that the police are out in full force for the holiday. Why anyone would risk driving on that particular day is mind-boggling.
Then there is that forever going debate on why a professional athlete would drive when under the influence. It is one of those things that has never made sense. They make millions of dollars, and one stupid decision takes the pay check away. He clearly knew the consequences. He knew he was going to be released.
The NFL and Ravens both offer driver services for their players. Call a friend. Call a cab. Hell, we don’t even need to call cabs anymore. Press a few buttons and Uber will pick you up.
Instead, it could be the end of his NFL career.
The former Owls standout has seen his numbers drop since a promising rookie season. He rushed for a career-high 532 yards in 2012 with a whopping 4.9 yards per carry and was a key part of the Ravens Super Bowl run. He has averaged just 3.4 yards per carry over the past two seasons, and his total yards has decreased as his playing time increased.
The Ravens have done all the right things since last offseason’s ordeal. The zero-tolerance policy is one that all professional sports teams should follow. When Pierce got into that car, he showed how little he cared about the Ravens.
Now, the only thing that is “off the books” is Pierce from the Ravens roster.
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