Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus certainly had a weekend to forget for the Buffalo Bills.
Before Saturday night’s NFL preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, Dareus was sent home after violating a team rule, the first time this offseason he has been in first-year head coach Sean McDermott’s dog house.
How did Dareus react to the early dismissal from the team?
"Me and McDermott, we had a discussion," Dareus told the media Sunday. "We're on the same page and we're just going to continue to move forward about it."
Dareus didn’t confess to the specific behavior that led to McDermott dismissing him from the team, an unusual move in today’s NFL, especially when you consider Dareus was not going to see action in the game as he deals with a hip injury.
According to multiple reports, Dareus did not appear at M&T Bank Stadium with his teammates for their usual pre-game stretching and workout routines until 5 p.m., just two hours prior to kickoff.
Being tardy did not sit well with McDermott, who sent a stern message to Dareus and the rest of the Bills: by sending home Dareus, McDermott is proving he is a no-nonsense coach. He expects every member of the Bills, regardless of their status or guaranteed money, to follow the same set of rules.
General Manager Brandon Beane described the violation as a “team matter” while expressing he “would expect more” from Dareus, the team’s highest-paid defensive player. (Dareus signed a six-year, $108 million extension with $60 million in guaranteed money in 2015.)
"We're just going to continue to move forward with what we've got going and make this run this year," said Dareus, who originally was rumored to have paid his own way back to Orchard Park from Baltimore, but clarified that report Sunday, stating the Bills handled his travel plans and paid for his return trip to Western New York.
"I take full responsibility, … And once we had our conversation (Sunday), we got a clear understanding of us moving forward and how we're going to handle things."
Dareus added that, after speaking with multiple Buffalo coaches, including defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, that everyone was on the same page and “we have a clear understanding” of the expectations placed on his massive shoulders heading into the 2017 season.
McDermott, who didn’t comment on if Dareus had been in any previous trouble this year prior to Saturday’s incident, didn’t hold back when addressing his reasons for the dismissal.
“Everyone needs to know what’s expected,” McDermott said during Sunday’s media availability. "We have certain things we do a certain way, and I expect everyone to be accountable and the rest is really between Marcell and myself. … Really, we're moving forward. That's where I stand on it, we're moving forward, and I'm looking forward to getting out here on the practice field and getting better."
Beane echoed McDermott’s sentiments, expressing his disappointment that, once again, Buffalo’s talented but oft-troubled defensive tackle found himself making headlines for his off-field behavior.
“Any player that you have to send home, this is not the norm. This is not what you’re looking for,” Beane said. “Obviously, a guy with his contract status, you would hope that we would be a better leader than that and hopefully he learns from it and moves on and just be a Buffalo Bill.