Just over a year ago, Nick Fairley appeared to be quickly heading toward the NFL's wasted-talent pile. He had produced little during an injury-plagued rookie season and then got arrested twice - once for marijuana possession, and once for driving under the influence of alcohol and resisting arrest - in less than two months.
The second incident, coming so soon after the first, suggested that the Detroit Lions' young defensive tackle just didn't get it and, ultimately, probably didn't care.
Those perceptions, however, are changing. It can all turn again with one bad decision, but Fairley has shown signs of getting on the right track to live up to his star potential.
"I see this as a breakout year for him," teammate Nate Burleson said. "He came in just happy to be here, with a pocket full of money. Now I think he understands that not only does he need to prove he's one of the top guys at his position, but we need him to be that.