Detroit Lions spoke with Cam Sutton and advised him to ‘turn himself in’

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ORLANDO — The Detroit Lions still enforce a zero-tolerance policy against domestic violence, and team president Rod Wood said Monday that it was the organization’s swift action to release cornerback Cam Sutton on Thursday. He said that this was one of the reasons why he took the .

“Yeah, it’s still in place,” Wood said at the NFL’s annual meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. “Obviously there are legal issues here that will determine exactly what happened, but I think that was a factor, and probably the fact that he was (currently) on the run from a warrant. I mean, all of these things were taken into consideration.”It was a difficult decision, but it was the right one and we just move forward.”

Florida authorities announced last week that they are seeking Sutton’s arrest on suspicion of domestic assault by strangulation in connection with the March 7 incident in the Tampa suburb of Lutz.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department posted on social media last week asking for help locating Sutton, sharing a photo of Sutton and the license plate number of the car they believe he was driving.

The Lions learned of the incident through social media and released Sutton for assignment the next day, June 1, in order to spread the cap on his contract over two years.

Wood said someone from the Lions organization spoke with Sutton after news of the incident broke, but he did not say who.

In a subsequent interview WJBK-TV Fox 2, Wood said Sutton was at the Lions’ Allen Park training facility working out with the team’s strength staff “unexpectedly” when the Lions learned of the incident. Wood said Sutton left the building after that conversation and the Lions have not spoken to him since.

“The same moment you were learning about warrants, we were learning about it,” Wood told reporters in Florida. “I was actually on a Zoom call with the league about something else and that message popped up on my phone. As soon as that call ended, we got together right away and talked about it. Cam. “I was able to contact them and talk about it,” and suggested that he do the right thing by getting counseling and turning himself in. We then decided to meet for the rest of the day and decide whether to release him the next morning. ”

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Sutton will be paid a base salary of $10.5 million this fall, which was guaranteed earlier this month. The Lions filed a motion to void the guarantees in the contract, which Sutton and his representatives can contest.

“I want everyone to know that when we released him, it was the right thing to do for the organization, not because of the cap or any money he might be owed,” Wood said. “But we released him on the post-June 1 designation, which allows us to deal with whatever the cap impact is over two seasons versus one season, and with us. We’re going to work through the process with him and the union.”We had to figure out exactly what was going to happen, but when we made the decision, we weren’t thinking about money. ”

Sutton, one of the Lions’ top free agent signings last spring, had a disappointing season. He started all 17 regular-season games and had 65 tackles and one interception, but struggled late in the season and in the playoffs against opponents’ No. 1 receivers.

The Lions strengthened their secondary this offseason by trading Carlton Davis III, signing Amik Robertson in free agency, and re-signing Emmanuel Moseley. Sutton was expected to play as the team’s No. 2 cornerback opposite Davis this fall, with Robertson and Emmanuel Moseley serving as the team’s top backups.

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Pittsburgh Steelers manager Mike Tomlin, who coached Sutton from 2017-22, said he reached out to his former player after news of Sutton’s legal issues broke.

Asked if he had spoken to Sutton, Tomlin replied, “None of your business.”

Contact Dave Birkett. dbirkett@freepress.com.follow him @Dave Burkett.

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