Five things that veteran Detroit Lions left tackle Jeff Backus and rookie Riley Reiff have in common.
1. They both would rather play football than talk to the media. Reiff, who risks life and limb on the football field, is not comfortable especially when the television lights turn on. Backus is much the same way. Both are polite about it which is a bonus.
2. They both excelled at Big Ten schools — Backus at Michigan and Reiff at Iowa.
3. The Lions targeted both, drafted them in the first round. Backus in 2001, Reiff this year.
4. Both are driven with incredible work ethics. If Backus can’t play Thursday due to a hamstring injury, Reiff will get the start. So after practice on Tuesday Reiff and backup center Dylan Gandy stayed on the field for more work.
5. Backus has started in 186 straight games. Reiff just 10. It’s too early to know, but with so many things in common (they both read USA Today too), it seems that Reiff could be a rock on the offensive line for many years to come.