Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – It took years for the Baltimore Ravens
to hit the gas and race from zero to zero-tolerance but the organization gets
there with the speed of a Porsche Spyder these days.
A drunken Bernard Pierce proved to be a better psychic than running back early
Wednesday morning as the Ravens released the veteran running back just hours
after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
Pierce was popped in the early morning hours after partaking a little too much
in the amateur hour that is St. Patrick’s Day. The Temple product was clocked
going 25 miles over the speed limit in 30-mph zone in Towson, Maryland and
was arrested after failing several sobriety tests.
Pierce may have done a dumb thing but he’s not a dumb man and he knew what was
coming next, asking the arresting officer “Do you know what happened the
last time a Ravens player got a DUI? I’m getting cut tomorrow, not like you
Right on both accounts, the police weren’t about to let a drunk driver walk
because he was an NFL player, and the Ravens weren’t long for Pierce,
releasing the fourth-year player less than 12 hours after he was pinched.
This after all is the post-Ray Rice era in Charm City where the Ravens are
acutely aware of the reputation they and the rest of the NFL now has in the
general public’s eyes.
Pierce is already the third Ravens player to be arrested this offseason and he
is also the third to be immediately jettisoned, joining cornerback Victor
Hampton, who was also picked up on DUI charges in the case Pierce alluded to,
and defensive tackle Terrence Cody, who was accused of animal cruelty.
That’s why Pierce fought so hard to keep his mistake off the books, asking the
arresting officer if he could take citations instead of being arrested.
When told that he was indeed being placed under arrest for DUI and the charge
couldn’t be kept from the public record, a forlorn Pierce, likely aware of his
ultimate fate despite his altered state, simply slurred “never mind.”
The die was cast and Pierce, who was scheduled to make $660,000 on the final
year of his rookie deal in 2015, is now unemployed.
To some Baltimore’s current zero-tolerance policy is certainly a step in the
right direction but it hasn’t really been tested because it’s easy to walk
away from role players.
A star, however, is a completely different animal and any policy that
possesses a sliding-scale based on importance to the organization should never
be defined as zero-tolerance.
Pierce, a 2012 third-round pick, showed tremendous promise as a rookie,
averaging 4.9 yards per carry as Rice’s backup en route to helping Baltimore
win Super Bowl XLVII over San Francisco. Perhaps his high point was a 103-yard
rushing effort in a wild-card win over Indianapolis that postseason.
Things have slowed greatly for Pierce since, though, and he averaged under 3.0
yards per carry in ’13 before entering last season as the projected starter
and quickly falling behind veteran Justin Forsett and then rookie Lorenzo
So Pierce probably wasn’t even in the Ravens plans moving forward but his
ultimate denouement, coupled with the consequences Hampton and Cody faced,
does point toward a new normal in the NFL.
And it’s pretty simple one, especially for ordinary players — stop doing