For a guy who had just been given a rare form of NFL-style punishment Saturday night, Marcell Dareus seemed to be fairly happy and carefree Sunday.
Coach Sean McDermott sent the defensive tackle back to Western New York before the Bills’ preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens for a violation of team rules that neither coach McDermott nor General Manager Brandon would reveal, although NFL sources say Dareus’ late arrival to M&T Bank Stadium was a factor.
Dareus refused to say what it was he did that was apparently so egregious, McDermott didn’t want him anywhere near the team even though Dareus would not be playing because of a hip issue.
But Dareus smiled and joked with reporters, without saying much of anything of substance.
“Me and McDermott, we had a discussion,” Dareus said. “We’re on the same page and we’re just going to continue to move forward about it.”
He would answer multiple questions pretty much the same way, later adding that he “spoke with the coaches,” including defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and “we have a clear understanding now.”
“We’re just going to continue to move forward with what we’ve got going and make this run this year,” Dareus said. He did indicate the Bills handled the travel arrangements, and covered the cost of his return trip.
“I take full responsibility,” the defensive tackle said. “And once we had our conversation (Sunday), we got a clear understanding of us moving forward and how we’re going to handle things.”
Video: Marcell Dareus on being sent home from Bills preseason game
Asked if he did not previously have a “clear understanding” of what was expected of him before speaking with McDermott Sunday, Dareus said, “To be honest, our conversation that we had made everything crystal clear on both parties.”
McDermott was equally vague. He wouldn’t say whether he also fined Dareus, or if there have been other disciplinary issues with the player.
“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,” McDermott said. “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.”
Video: Our Team’s Takeaway from Sunday’s Bills practice
Dareus, who did not participate in practice because of the hip problem, has a history of off-field trouble. He was suspended for the first four game of last season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He also was suspended for the first game of the 2015 season.
McDermott said he took a clean-slate approach to his relationship with Dareus.
“I’ll say this, we got off on the right foot,” McDermott said. “And then we decided last night to make the decision we did, I did. And every decision I make is going to be in the best interest of this football team, and that’s the way it goes.”
Asked if he was trying to send a message by announcing before the Bills-Ravens game that Dareus was being sent home, McDermott said, “Well, really, no message other than you understand everyone needs to know what’s expected and everyone’s accountable, myself included. I’m not looking to send a message other than, ‘Do the right thing.'”
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