Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - It took years for the Baltimore Ravens to hit the gas and race from zero to zero-tolerance but the organization gets there with the speed of a Porsche Spyder these days.
A drunken Bernard Pierce proved to be a better psychic than running back early Wednesday morning as the Ravens released the veteran running back just hours after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
Pierce was popped in the early morning hours after partaking a little too much in the amateur hour that is St. Patrick's Day. The Temple product was clocked going 25 miles over the speed limit in 30-mph zone in Towson, Maryland and was arrested after failing several sobriety tests.
Pierce may have done a dumb thing but he's not a dumb man and he knew what was coming next, asking the arresting officer "Do you know what happened the last time a Ravens player got a DUI? I'm getting cut tomorrow, not like you care."
Right on both accounts, the police weren't about to let a drunk driver walk because he was an NFL player, and the Ravens weren't long for Pierce, releasing the fourth-year player less than 12 hours after he was pinched.
This after all is the post-Ray Rice era in Charm City where the Ravens are acutely aware of the reputation they and the rest of the NFL now has in the general public's eyes.
Pierce is already the third Ravens player to be arrested this offseason and he is also the third to be immediately jettisoned, joining cornerback Victor Hampton, who was also picked up on DUI charges in the case Pierce alluded to, and defensive tackle Terrence Cody, who was accused of animal cruelty.
That's why Pierce fought so hard to keep his mistake off the books, asking the arresting officer if he could take citations instead of being arrested.
When told that he was indeed being placed under arrest for DUI and the charge couldn't be kept from the public record, a forlorn Pierce, likely aware of his ultimate fate despite his altered state, simply slurred "never mind."
The die was cast and Pierce, who was scheduled to make $660,000 on the final year of his rookie deal in 2015, is now unemployed.
To some Baltimore's current zero-tolerance policy is certainly a step in the right direction but it hasn't really been tested because it's easy to walk away from role players.
A star, however, is a completely different animal and any policy that possesses a sliding-scale based on importance to the organization should never be defined as zero-tolerance.
Pierce, a 2012 third-round pick, showed tremendous promise as a rookie, averaging 4.9 yards per carry as Rice's backup en route to helping Baltimore win Super Bowl XLVII over San Francisco. Perhaps his high point was a 103-yard rushing effort in a wild-card win over Indianapolis that postseason.
Things have slowed greatly for Pierce since, though, and he averaged under 3.0 yards per carry in '13 before entering last season as the projected starter and quickly falling behind veteran Justin Forsett and then rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro.
So Pierce probably wasn't even in the Ravens plans moving forward but his ultimate denouement, coupled with the consequences Hampton and Cody faced, does point toward a new normal in the NFL.
And it's pretty simple one, especially for ordinary players -- stop doing stupid s@#$.