DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. - It's going to take time for Nick Fairley to rebuild his image.
Arrested on two separate occasions this spring for marijuana possession and driving under the influence, Fairley joined five other teammates to face legal ramifications this offseason.
The defensive tackle is taking steps towards improving his reputation.
"Basically, I'm where I want to be. I'm making smarter decisions now. I'm bettering myself," Fairley said Thursday at HYPE Athletics in Dearborn Heights.
He says it starts with the people he's taking advice from.
"I'm surrounding myself with better people, guys on the team who have my best interests at heart. I'm trying to put the incidents behind me and move forward."
Thursday afternoon, Fairley visited with a group of children at HYPE, speaking for roughly fifteen minutes, fielding questions from the boys and girls.
The face-to-face encounters showed the 24-year old's youthful side. He seemingly enjoyed the time as much as the kids did, staying nearly forty-five minutes after his speech to play basketball and sign autographs.
"Writing a check doesn't take time. Coming out here, playing with the kids, it takes time and effort out of your day. They want to see you interact with them.
"This is something they're gonna remember forever."
Fairley attended the NFL's rookie symposium last week, seeking permission from the league to do so following his actions.
"Nick knows that his actions will speak louder than his words in accepting responsibility and moving forward," Lions president Tom Lewand said on DetroitLions.com last week.
The second-year pro declined to talk about the time in Ohio, and said he couldn't speak in depth about the legal proceedings. The next step for him is focusing on the continued image rehabilitation -- and the football field.
"I just wanna go forward, put this behind me, and help the Lions."
Fairley is hosting the 1st Annual Community Kickball Game at HYPE this Saturday, July 5. The event is open to the public and participants are still welcome. For information, contact Alan Berry at 313-436-0043 ext. 120 or visit hypeathletics .org.