<h3> </span></h3> Story from Detroit Free Press about bust Charles Rogers, pointing out he was a punk in college, too. When he was in high school in Saginaw, Rogers was hailed as a future Olympic sprinter. I was at the track state finals his junior year, and he lost to future Raider Stuart Schweigert, from a white Saginaw school, in the 100 meters. <h3>Lions receiver Rogers must prove himself worthy </h3> November 5, 2005 BY MICHAEL ROSENBERG FREE PRESS COLUMNIST</font> If the NFL draft ever had a known commodity, it should have been Charles Rogers. Yet here we are, three years into Rogers' career, and we seem to know less about him than ever. His career numbers? Three touchdown catches, two season-ending collarbone injuries and three positive drug tests. His most memorable appearance as a Lion? Probably his apology to teammates Oct. 5, when he was suspended for four games for that third positive drug test. The speech lasted about a minute. But the Lions could tell it was sincere. "You could really hear it in his voice," center Dominic Raiola said. "Some guys, you don't know if they mean it or not. But when he stood up and said it ... it was more embarrassing to him. He was uncomfortable. He really messed up. He knows." He knows. But how much does he care? Rogers and fellow receivers Roy Williams and Mike Williams were supposed to solve the Lions' offensive woes. Instead, they are part of the problem. Teammates have questioned Roy Williams' desire and toughness. Mike Williams must show he has the work ethic to thrive in the NFL. And Rogers, who has been here the longest, has the most to prove. After the Bears crushed the Lions, 38-6, in September, Rogers was laughing and smiling in the locker room. The startling part wasn't just Rogers' demeanor in the wake of a blowout loss; it was that he had no fear of being seen by a coach. Steve Mariucci's attitude is that the players handle losing in their own way. But what if "their own way" is the wrong way? After the Lions lost at Tampa -- when they thought they had won in the final seconds, only to see a touchdown overturned by instant replay -- the attitude on the team plane was way too upbeat for some players' tastes. Marcus Pollard, the highly respected veteran tight end who arrived in the off-season from Indianapolis, finally told the players around him to pipe down. "I just told them, 'We need to be better about things, the professional part of it,' " Pollard said. Did it resonate? "I don't know," Pollard said. "I guess I'm from the old school where, you know, you gotta handle losing in a certain way and you gotta handle winning in a certain way. I wanted people to feel that way -- the guys I was talking to around me. And some guys did and some guys didn't." He quickly added: "I think for the most part, guys do care." Rogers was not one of the players sitting near Pollard. But judging from Rogers' reaction to the loss at Chicago, he easily could have been. In the past four weeks, as Rogers served his suspension, Pollard tried to explain what was at stake -- mostly for Rogers' life and reputation, but also for his football career. "I said, 'Right now, you're at a crossroads,' " Pollard said. "You haven't played a complete season. You're in your third year. At what point are you going to say, 'I need to get it?' "I told him simply like that: 'When you come back, you gotta be hungry again. And hungry means you gotta do whatever it takes to bust your butt, to stay in the league, to be the second overall pick.' " Rogers has promised he'll do just that. Yet when he returned to practice this week, he didn't appear to go full speed on a few plays. He also dropped or bobbled several balls. Mariucci said this week that his team's biggest problem was "a lack of explosive pass plays," which would seem to be Rogers' forte. But right now, Rogers isn't even guaranteed a spot on the active roster. He can't even beat out Scottie Vines, who was cut before the season and wasn't picked up by another team. Rogers can say he'll "go out here and bust my ass," as he did earlier this week. But he has never really done it. Even at Michigan State, as wonderfully as he played, Rogers was not a great practice player. "He is the type of guy that doesn't jump out at you in practice," said Sherm Lewis, the Lions' offensive coordinator last season. "But when the game starts, he makes plays." That's how Rogers feels, too: When the game starts, he makes plays. But in the first three games this season, when he was healthy and starting, Rogers caught only five passes for 77 yards. "He wants (them) to throw the ball down the field," said Jeremiah McLaurin, Rogers' cousin, former MSU teammate and self-described best friend. "That's what got him here: stretching the field at Michigan State. You can't tell me he can't stretch the field like that." You can't tell the Lions he can.</span> Show them. Rogers' teammates say they support him, but they aren't overflowing with sympathy. Think of how hard it is to get suspended for drug use in the NFL: You have to fail one test just to reach the second stage of the program, and then you have to fail two more to get suspended. Rogers' first positive test came before he was drafted in 2003. Technically, he tested positive for a masking agent, the equivalent of a positive test under the NFL drug-testing policy. Rogers' agent, Kevin Poston, said the masking agent was "simply excessive water." That must have caused a few chuckles in East Lansing. There were concerns about Rogers' lifestyle when he was in college. If the Lions didn't know that, they didn't talk to the right people. And it's hard to believe they didn't talk to the right people because they hired Rogers' MSU coach, Bobby Williams, before they drafted Rogers. Now the word is out. "The money he's lost and some of the damage he's done to his appearance, how people perceive him -- it's hard to get that stuff back," Pollard said. "I've just been talking to him about that: You've got so much talent, you've got so much to lose. Just think about that before some of the decisions that you make." Does Rogers get it? "I hope he does," Pollard said. "Only time will tell. You can talk to a person all you want, but until they decide to listen and take it upon themselves to change, then they never will. But I think Chuck's got one of those personalities where if you tell him something, and he's somewhat embarrassed about it, I think he'll respond in the right way." It is too early to write off Rogers or the Lions. He is only 24 and healthy; they are 3-4 with two winnable games on tap. But at some point, player and team must produce. "A lot of people believe in results," Rogers said. "So you've just got to show more results instead of talking about it." When the Lions drafted Rogers, they thought they had a sure thing. They also thought Rogers would be a symbol of the Mariucci era. Maybe he is.