Marcell Dareus showed up late to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday night and Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott told him to turn around and not even bother dressing. That’s the gist of the story reported by Jason La Canfora and confirmed by Sal Capaccio of WGR 550.
According to La Canfora, Dareus arrived at the stadium at roughly 5 p.m., less than two hours before kickoff against the Baltimore Ravens and while his teammates were warming up on the field.
"It was a violation of a team rule," McDermott said after the game. "I'm disappointed. We're disappointed. My hope is that he'll learn from this, and we'll move forward. I'm not going to get into what he did. We'll address it and revisit it when we get back."
McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane wouldn’t comment on if this was the end of the punishment for Dareus, nor would they say what rule was broken. With the timing of the incident, it’s completely understandable they would want to reserve judgement until they returned to Buffalo while making the move to bench him.
"I think circumstances happen with guys," backup defensive tackle Jerel Worthy told newyorkupstate.com after the game. "I think you just have to learn from it. I don't think that rules and everything else implemented with us is hard. We just have to be professionals. At the end of the day, everybody has to be accountable to the team and has to be accountable to the organization because he is accountable to the owners upstairs. At the end of the day, we all have to hone in and do what we're supposed to do. I think Marcell will learn from it. I think he was really disappointed. Extremely disappointed on the way out of here. He's been through a lot of ups and downs, but you have to understand, he's a battler. He's been through a lot of offseason things, off the field things and dealing with family. At the end of the day, he's a battler. He's going to bounce back. I don't think we've seen the best Marcell yet. He just has to grow."
That’s a tired phrase with Dareus, who has been suspended by the NFL twice for offseason substance abuse violations, in trouble with the law for drag racing and synthetic marijuana, and benched by his coach for being routinely late for team meetings. At the age of 27, it’s hard to say Dareus is just a naive kid.
"Anytime it's your premiere player like that, it sends a message to the team," Bills guard Richie Incognito. "We mean business. You have to uphold your end of the bargain and you'll be treated like a professional.”
"We've been preaching accountability,” Incognito continued. “Do your job. Sean is a very detail-oriented coach, but he doesn't have a lot of rules. You know, when you violate the rules there are consequences. I think guys feel that, and I think guys notice that. I think it permeates throughout the entire roster."
Defensive leader Lorenzo Alexander took a more caring approach, saying he and the rest of the defensive wanted to be there for Dareus.
"It's not a great situation for us, obviously we want Marcell to learn from him, because we need him,” Alexander told The Buffalo News. “Obvioulsy me and Kyle [Williams] will continue to wrap our arms around him, continue to help him any way that we can as far as just buying in. Mistakes happen, but we can't have that lingering into the season or have to continue to talk about things, because it distracts away from what we're trying to accomplish on the field."
He also spoke to Dareus’ on-the-field ability rather than the off-the-field problems.
"Marcell is somebody that we need on the field. Probably one of the best players on our team, as far as talent wise, but at the same time, you've got to be able to buy in," Alexander said. "We have certain rules. I'm pretty sure Sean took care of it. I don't know what exactly what happened, but Sean is a black-and-white guy, and if we want to be a great team, everybody has to be accountable, no matter if you the last man on the roster or making the most money.”