The Detroit Lions are coming off their first playoff performance in over a decade. The team looked like they were finally getting back to respectability with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson leading one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. As soon as the Lions were starting to take the necessary steps to prevent from being the laughing stock of the league on the field, they were going the wrong way off-the-field. Detroit’s offseason has been marred by off-the-field trouble. The Lions have become the league’s punch line once again but this time it goes well beyond the product produced on the gridiron.
Kevin Smith joined WXYT in Detroit with Stoney and Bill to talk about his expectations as training camp opens up, whether he has been frustrated by all the injuries he has had to deal with in his career, if he takes solace in the fact that he is still only 25-years-old, whether what has happened off the field with Lions players will have any carry-over into training camp, and what his reaction was when he heard about Aaron Berry getting arrested again and then getting released from the team.
On his expectations as training camp opens up:
“To me it’s all about improving from what we did last year. This season is all about staying healthy for me. A full 16 plus and just providing and helping win some games for our team.”
Whether he has been frustrated by all the injuries he has had to deal with:
“I never second guess what happens in life. I’ve been playing football for a long time, all the way to little league and of course everyone knows I had a lot of carries in college and I was blessed that I wasn’t hurt throughout, but things happen and I’ve been hampered by injuries up until this point and I could finish the rest of my career without getting injured again so it’s just one of those things where I keep working hard in the weight room, do as much injury prevention as I can and just put my best foot forward. At the end of the day this is just football and it’s just a game.”
If he can take solace in the fact the he is still only 25-years-old:
“It does suck when I get hurt because the proof is in the pudding. When I’m healthy I can do some good things out on the football field but I never second guess it. I just continue to work hard and I know my time is coming soon with the injuries so I know I will be fine.”
Whether the incidents off the field will have any negative carry-over into training camp:
“I think it’s going to bring us together and more than anything I think the guys are ready to get back on the field. I know myself, I’m ready to get back and just play football. Because when you’re in training camp and doing those things the only thing you have to focus on is football and guys make mistakes but I think we will come together and we will do something special, but regardless of the fact we just have to continue to be smart and guys have to put the team first and I think we will be okay. It’s not really us against the world but all we have is each other in the locker room and in the organization so no matter what happens we have to stick together, we have to move forward and it’s time for training camp tomorrow. I think that’s going to be main focus when guys get in the building.”
His reaction when he heard about Aaron Berry:
“Even if I don’t have to say anything I just shake my head. Aaron Berry is a good guy. Since he’s been there, since I’ve been there he’s always been a hard worker and always been a good guy who is doing things on the field and trying to get back from his own injuries but there’s a learning curve with everybody and the one thing I never do is try not to judge anybody because that’s not my position. It does suck. He is young and I think it takes trials and tribulations to make a man better so hopefully he can learn from this and whatever he does he will be fine but I’m not one to judge. It’s kind of a bummer. Not because he got into trouble but just because you know ‘okay well the Lions again.’ That wasn’t too good.”
How far the Lions can go this year:
“I believe as far as we want. It’s too early and I’m not going to make any predictions but with our offense and our defense playing good football the sky is limit and it’s everybody’s goal to get to the big dance. It’s all about how you come out of the gate and how you finish the season so we’ll see.”