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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.

3/25/2015

Check out transcript of Lions chat

If you missed the weekly chat discussing the Detroit Lions on Thursday, check out the transcript here

Plenty of speculation on the NFL draft which is just five weeks away. Also much discussion on the state of the offensive line.

Join me for the next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 2. — Paula Pasche





3/19/2015

Detroit Lions CB Rashean Mathis didn't plan on playing 13 NFL seasons


Rashean Mathis never dreamed he would play in the NFL for 13 years, but the cornerback is headed in that direction.

“There’s always a number that each person gives himself and mine definitely wasn’t 13,’’ Mathis said in a conference call on Thursday.

“Life happens, you get smarter, you get wiser and realize you didn’t know nearly as much as you thought when you first got into the league. I think my number was eight coming into the league because you think you have everything set. Once I got to six I thought eight wasn’t a realistic number. I thank God I’ve been fortunate to play as long as I have and impact some of the lives I’ve been able to impact.’’

Mathis, who will turn 35 in August, signed a $3.5 million two-year deal with the Lions on Wednesday. He has started 31 games at cornerback in the last two seasons with the Lions. He’s durable and solid.

His durability is no accident. He said he is lifting heavier on his legs.

“I know it sounds crazy being that I’m older and why would I lift heavier, but it’s worked and that’s something that I’ve always (done) to get me ready,’’ Mathis said. “Pounding my legs is something I do early so I maintain strength during the offseason. I do it during the season as well. I will stick to that routine, going on 13 years it has served me very well so I’m not going to stray away from it.’’

It’s unclear if he’ll start again on the outside opposite Darius Slay or move inside to nickel. He’s versatile enough to do both.

Much depends on if the Lions sign another free agent cornerback or pick one or two up in the draft.

“Anywhere to help the team, that’s always been my philosophy,’’ Mathis said. “I know I developed a certain skill set that can be versatile, I thank God for that, it’s probably a reason why I’ve stuck around for so long, I can retain a lot and I’ve been blessed with the skills to play different positions.

“It’s happened that I’ve been at corner for the last 11 and a half years, wherever I am I will do my best to help the team it doesn’t matter where it is,’’ Mathis said.

That attitude is one reason the Lions wanted him back.

“He had an outstanding season for us last year,’’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “He did a great job in terms of getting himself ready to play, but he also did a great job in terms of helping all the other guys, the new guys in the secondary, especially Darius (Slay), in terms of getting better. 

“That helps you as a coordinator. When you’re talking about stuff and trying to get things nailed down, as an older vet he can help you do that and bring the right questions. He’s like having an extra coach, so it’s good,’’ Austin added.




3/18/2015

Check out transcript from chat on Detroit Lions

If you missed Thursday's chat on the Lions, check out the transcript here.

Much discussion on the biggest areas of need in free agency and the NFL draft. Guess what? We also talked about Ndamukong Suh.

Join the next chat at 3 p.m on Thursday, March 26. — Paula Pasche





3/17/2015

Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson proposes to girlfriend


While Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is just a few weeks away from getting married, his teammate Calvin Johnson is next in line.

The Lions wide receiver proposed to his girlfriend Brittney McNorton while in Baltimore for the Ed Block Courage Award dinner on Monday night.

“I thought it may be coming but I was totally surprised. I had no idea it was coming this soon,’’ McNorton told the Baltimore Sun in a video.

She said he proposed along the Inner Harbor. 

“It was beautiful — the sky, the stars,’’ McNorton said.

Johnson, quiet as always didn’t have much to say in the Sun’s video.

“The situation was just right, we were on vacation, so why not?’’ Johnson said.

McNorton is the Lions promotions manager. Her dad Bruce was a Lions cornerback from 1982-1990.

Stafford and his long-time girlfriend Kelly Hall will be married on April 4.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


3/16/2015

Detroit Lions — Todd Gurley makes pre-draft visit


Todd Gurley is considered by several experts as the top running back available in this year's NFL draft. Would he be a good fit in Detroit?

The Lions, who have the 23rd overall pick, brought Gurley in for a pre-draft visit on Monday, according to the team web site.

Since Reggie Bush was released the Lions have a need for another running back to help carry the load along with Joique Bell. Theo Riddick’s strength is catching balls out of the backfield. George Winn had a solid training camp but didn’t get many carries in the regular season — just 19 for 73 yards.

The one big issue with Gurley, who played at Georgia, is that he tore an ACL in November. He’s expected to possibly return for the start of training camp.

Right or wrong, his durability is a concern because he also missed three games in 2013 with an ankle injury. 

He’s got NFL size at 6-foot-1 and 222 pounds. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry in 2014, finishing with 911 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had a dozen catches for 57 yards.

Rob Rang of NFLdraftscout.com describes Gurley as “built for the NFL with a muscle-bound, physical frame and naturally lowers his pads and squares his shoulder to attack the line of scrimmage and bounce off defenders.”

Rang also wrote: “Reads the first line of attack very well and senses daylight to hit holes with authority and quickness to stick-and-go, accelerating extremely well in his cuts.’’

Gurley was suspended for four games in 2014 for signing autographs. That is not expected to be affect his draft scout, per Walterfootball.com.

No running backs were drafted in the first round in 2013 and 2014.

Gurley has a chance to break that run in a draft that is rich in running back talent. Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) is also projected as a possible first-round pick.

Jahvid Best was the last running back the Lions drafted in the first round (2010)
The three-day NFL draft starts April 30 in Chicago.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)





3/13/2015

Rashean Mathis tops Detroit Lions in performance bonuses


Rashean Mathis was the big Lions’ winner in performance bonuses for the 2014 season.

The veteran cornerback was making just $1 million last season, but his performance bonus is worth $227,241.98.

It’s the biggest bonus on the team. Jeremy Ross is second with $197,654 and Tahir Whitehead third with $192,028.

Mathis, who is 34, started every game, had one interception and nine passes defended.

The Lions want him back for 2015 but he remains unsigned.Not only was he solid on the field, his leadership benefited Darius Slay and other young defensive backs.

The bonuses are created under the NFL Performance-Based Pay program, a fund that creates a supplemental form of compensation based on a player’s comparison of playing time to salary.

Here’s a complete list of the performance bonuses:
Rashean Mathis: $227,241.98
Jeremy Ross: $197,654
Tahir Whitehead: $192,028.20
Cornelius Lucas: $156,153.98
Larry Warford: $152,012.66
Corey Fuller: $151,967.75
LaAdrian Waddle: $150,251.73
George Johnson: $141,548.84
Darius Slay: $115,717.89
Cassius Vaughn: $112,447.96
Isa Abdul-Quddus: $110,842.24
Travis Swanson: $105,053.02
Josh Bynes: $104,237.92
James Ihedigbo: $97,870.82
Dominic Raiola: $89,021.28
Jed Collins: $81,489.14
Darryl Tapp: $73,906.84
Theo Riddick: $67,747.64
George Winn: $64,628.00
Devin Taylor: $64,061.73
Julian Stanford: $63,844.96
Glover Quin: $59,588.90
Riley Reiff: $59,122.97
Garrett Reynolds: $58,610.01
Mohammed Seisay: $55,541.88
Sam Martin: $52,605.55
Danny Gorrer: $49,177.71
Don Carey: $49,026.71
DeAndre Levy: $45,316.72
C.J. Mosley: $44,807.96
Andre Fluellen: $44,039.04
Joseph Fauria: $39,623.64
Rob Sims: $39,471.44
Ashlee Palmer: $39,334.80
Golden Tate: $38,850.26
Brandon Pettigrew: $38,227.82
Kellen Davis: $37,823.09
Joique Bell: $34,755.61
Caraun Reid: $34,160.36
Jerome Couplin: $32,743.16
Eric Ebron: $32,014.95
Don Muhlbach: $28,788.90
Jason Jones: $25,486.73
Kyle Van Noy: $25,301.63
Nevin Lawson: $23,294.96
Ezekiel Ansah: $21,144.02
Nick Fairley: $12,614.33
Reggie Bush: $12,199.06
Matt Prater: $11,164.65
Jordan Thompson: $10,786.91
Matthew Stafford: $8,969.82
Travis Lewis: $8,178.21
Calvin Johnson: $6,924.80
Ndamukong Suh: $5,451.10
Montell Owens: $4,942.13
Ryan Broyles: $4,660.44
Corey Hilliard: $4,648.14
Stephen Tulloch: $3,820.20
Nate Freese: $3,521.66
Nate Ness: $2,347.24
Alex Henery: $2,013.56
Josh Thomas: $1,247.64
Bill Bentley: $922.08

Detroit Lions sign DT Tyrunn Walker to 1-year deal


Tyrunn Walker, who played the last three seasons for the New Orleans Saints, was signed by the Lions on Thursday night.

The defensive tackle, who is 6-foot-3 and 294 pounds, signed a one-year deal worth about $1.75 million per the team web site.

The Lions are in need of help at the defensive tackle position. They traded for veteran Haloti Ngata on Tuesday after Ndamukong Suh had agreed to sign with the Dolphins. Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley remain free agents.

Walker wasn’t tendered by the Saints as a restricted free agent. 

He played in 16 games in 2014 as a rotational player on the defensive line. He had one start. He finished with 19 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Walker, who played at Tulsa, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Saints in April 2012.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

3/11/2015

Report: Detroit Lions won't pursue Nick Fairley


ALLEN PARK — Nick Fairley has been a huge question mark since the Lions did not pick up his fifth-year option 10 months ago.

That question may now have an answer.

The Lions are out of the Fairley free agency sweepstakes according to a report from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

The Lions never said they wouldn’t re-sign the defensive tackle, but they would only do so at the right price.

On Feb. 18, GM Martin Mayhew said he could envision two things. One, the Lions bringing back both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Two, moving forward with neither one.

Put your money on the second scenario.

Suh is preparing to sign a mega-deal with the Miami Dolphins.

Fairley, a first-round draft pick in 2011, played 46 games for the Lions over four seasons. He started eight games in 2014 before sitting out the rest of the season with a knee injury. He was expected to visit the Cincinnati Bengals today. 

The Lions made a trade with the Ravens on Tuesday for 31-year-old All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata

They still have needs at the defensive tackle position.  

C.J. Mosley, who started eight games in 2014, also became a free agent on Tuesday. As did Andre Fluellen.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Check out transcript of Detroit Lions chat

If you missed Thursday's live chat about the Detroit Lions, free agency and the draft, check out the transcript here.

Fans seem impatient just two days into the start of NFL free agency. We discussed the acquisition of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, the loss of Ndamukong Suh, Martin Mayhew's job security  and much more.

Join the next chat at 3 p.m., Thursday, March 19.