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4/20/2009

Lions fans want Curry; I still think it's going to be Stafford

Let there be no doubt who Lions fans want with the No. 1 overall pick. At a press conference to introduce their new logo Monday, the several hundred fans in attendance broke into two notable cheers in support of drafting Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry – “Cur-ry, Cur-ry” and “Don't draft Staf-ford.”

A Lions spokesperson opened the press conference at Dunham's in Madison Heights by reminding the assembled media of a pre-draft press conference scheduled for Tuesday.

One fan yelled, “Is it about Stafford?”

Then came the first chorus of, “Cur-ry, Cur-ry.” Then another. And on and off throughout the press conference.

When Lions president Tom Lewand addressed the crowd, he said he was going to pretend like fans were chanting “Bar-ry” for Hall-of-famer Barry Sanders.

Later, after Lewand welcomed a handful of kids on stage for a free T-shirt giveaway amid more Curry cheers, fans protested the possibility of the Lions drafting Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford with a 10-second rendition of, “Don't draft Staf-ford.”

After the presentation, Lewand talked with reporters and gave no indication that Curry would be the pick. He didn't say he wouldn't, but I walked away feeling even stronger the Lions will take Stafford No. 1 overall.

“I think they are engaged and that is great," Lewand said. "To me it's wonderful that they want us to improve, they want us to get better on the field. They recognize that there are a couple different ways we can go in doing that, and those are the things we've been talking about since Day 1.

"We're looking forward to this weekend as much or more than they are and are very confident that we're going to make the kind of selections that time will demonstrate are the right ones for building the core of this franchise."

Asked whether the Curry supporters will be happy or disappointed, Lewand said: "Our sincere hope is that they're going to be very happy, not only this weekend but more importantly a year from now, two years from now, three years from now when the people that we select this weekend are part of the cornerstone of the franchise that we're confident they'll become."

Linebacker Ernie Sims, one of five players on hand Monday to model the new uniforms said he heard the fans chanting for Curry and hopes that's the direction the Lions go in the draft.

"I had no problem with that," he said. "I'm actually kind of rooting for that also. He can only make us better, that's how I see it."

One final comment from Lewand that speaks to why I still think the Lions will make Stafford the pick. Asked if he was surprised at the overwhelming support for Curry among fans, Lewand said, "I think what's important for us is that we listen to our scouts and our coaches and the people who have done the work and watched the tape on these guys, whether they're quarterbacks or defensive linemen or offensive linemen.

"We've had people who know the game of football watching every game of their collegiate careers, doing a lot of work behind the scenes, off the field, the comprehensive evaluation that's necessary to give us the best chance to make the right pick for our organization and regardless of what the immediate opinion is – it's this time of year where everybody goes back and looks back at what grades somebody got two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, and the people who got A-plusses have nobody left in the league and the people who got C-minuses have five Pro Bowlers - to us it's that long-term view that's the most important thing. Short-term is important, too, but making sure that foundation of your franchise is built, and to do that you have to listen to those coaches and those scouts and the personnel people who have put in the work that's required to make the best judgement possible."

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Big Biting Pig said...

Dave assuming the Lions sign the #1 overall pick PRIOR to the actual draft, when do you expect the signing to be announced?

What do you think would be the absolute EARLIEST they would make that known and when do you think would be the absolute LATEST that they would make that known?

1:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they'll prolly have him signed in a few days and announce it either on friday or right before the draft starts.

1:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would guess the announcement of the #1 pick to be Friday night as well.

Hey, any word on if there will be changes to Ford Field? Blue end zones? Lion or helmet at the 50 yard line? etc?

2:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think it's gonna be stafford too, but i also believe that they have a plan in place to bring him along the RIGHT way and to get the most out of him when he's ready. god i hope i'm right.

3:08 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Couple things on the uniforms/logo. There are some changes coming to Ford Field, but I'm not exactly sure when they're scheduled to take place. The new script will be in the end zones and will be on everything in fact, including future ticket correspondence, renewal forms, etc. The logo is such that's an easy swap in the areas the Lions need to change out in Ford Field, but not a radically different one so that any of the old logos that stay will seem out of place.

On the draft, I'd be surprised if they announced the pick tomorrow. Too soon. Then the attention goes to St. Louis for the rest of the week, or on Stafford and where he falls if it's not him. I think the Dolphins signed Jake Long on Friday last year. I think that's most likely this year, though hopefully the rumblings will get a little more focused mid-week.

3:24 PM 
Blogger Jesse said...

I'm pretty psyched that the fans at the press conference made themselves heard. Thanks on behalf of the few Lions fans in the northeast.

5:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

heard anything about sanchez's visit, dave?

6:39 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curry on Espn video. Check out that grin toward the end when Rome asks him about talking to the Lions. Curry mentioned speaking with Mayhew directly on several occasions. I doubt he'd be smiling that much if he had no idea he if he might be the pick.

7:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^wishful thinking. curry will NOT be the pick UNLESS he signs first.

7:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, Have you heard anything about the Lion's and agreements with potential # 1 picks already? Is there any truth to that?
What is the likelihood of trading down outside of the top pick?

7:58 PM 
Blogger Erick said...

I understand the economics of signing a LB to such a huge deal (no 1 overall), but wouldn't it make more sense if we went Curry, P. Jerry (or another DT), and then the best OG or T left on the board at the start of round 2? LB, DT, OL with 3 guaranteed starters sounds good to me.

10:33 PM 
Blogger Jesse said...

Erick, I completely agree. The way I see it, that type of draft could only play out the way the Lions want it to:

#1 You get your MLB

#20 If Jerry is not there at 20, Hood definitely is.

#33 You probably can pick from 2 out of 3 from Alex Mack/Eric Wood/Max Unger

There's almost no chance of one of your guys not being there.

10:12 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pick is either Smith or Stafford - count on it. The Lions will not draft a linebacker with the number 1 pick. It's too way too much money to give a linebacker. Fans need understand this and quit living in fantasy world where the salary cap doesn't exist.

It's not about taking the best available player anymore it's about taking the best available value. Stafford and Smith value is so much higher than Curry that it outweighs talent.

11:03 AM 
Anonymous Michael Schottey said...

Anon,

The fantasy world is one where people believe that just because Stafford will command 40mil guaranteed, Curry will as well.

Its called negotiation. Curry will end up being paid like one of the better LBs in the league. Stafford will end up getting paid like one of the better QBs in the league.

Stafford will affect the cap a LOT more than Curry.

11:43 AM 

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