Trent Stutzman

For LaVon Brazill, It's Money Over Marijuana

Created on Aug. 04, 2013 1:09 AM EST

I want to believe in LaVon Brazill, but I’m not so sure I can.

The Indianapolis Colts receiver spoke to the media last Monday for the first time since being suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Because first-time offenders are not penalized, that means this is Brazill’s second time getting caught.

He did sound remorseful and took full ownership for the penalty.

“Oh yeah, I messed up,” he said to the media. “I let my teammates down and let the organization down. I’m just trying to stay focused and keep moving forward. ...  Just stay clean and move forward. Come out here and work hard and show I want to be here. Then just continue on with my life and focus on my future.”

Brazill also admitted to marijuana use being the reason for the failed test. That’s a rarity in today’s league. Most players don’t get into specifics of what drug they abused, so kudos for honesty.

But there was one line that stood out. It wasn’t quite what I wanted to hear.

“It’s either money or marijuana,” he said. “It’s money over everything, and I don’t want to lose millions of dollars. So (marijuana’s) out of my life. ” over everything? That’s your primary motivation? That’s not what any fan wants to hear from anyone playing for their favorite teams.

What about the love for football? The fact that your occupation is something everyone else does as a form of recreation to get away from their stressful lives? Or that you are catching passes from a quarterback who’s about to take the league by storm and likely lead the Colts to multiple Super Bowls?

Doesn’t Brazill want to fulfill his potential and become a key cog to a championship-winning franchise? He doesn’t have the upside of his receiver teammate T.Y. Hilton, but Brazill was dubbed the team’s fastest receiver by Reggie Wayne last year. The Colts only signed receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract this offseason, most likely because they were planning on Brazill becoming the long-term deep threat for the team.

You could argue that motivation for money is still motivation, pushing him to perform well for a big contract. This is true, but that usually only lasts for four years. Sure, he’ll have that breakthrough season the year before his rookie contract expires, but what about after he finally signs that big deal that rakes in big money?

We’ve seen this happen many times before – Albert Haynesworth, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Michael Vick (twice) immediately come to mind as guys who became busts after getting big deals. Brazill likely won’t get a contract as big as any of theirs, and while they are the exceptions rather than the rules, it still would make me very wary of wanting this guy to be a part of the Colts’ future.

You heard it straight from Brazill’s mouth – he isn’t determined to quit smoking marijuana so he can become a good player, he’s doing it to make the big bucks. He obviously realizes one more failed test can end his career, but what he said to the media Monday is quite worrisome. It certainly makes you wonder where the guy’s head is at. 

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