|Manny Ramirez spoke to Detroit media on Friday.|
ALLEN PARK — The Lions are a much different team today than when Manny Ramirez was released in October 2010.
And, in turn, Ramirez is a different person.
“What’s different about me? Just in general, I’m a whole different person as an individual,’’ Ramirez said on Friday. “I feel like I matured a lot. When I got released from here it did hurt a lot, you know, but at the same time I truly believe that it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It put a lot of things in perspective for me. It was important in how I should approach different things. Definitely built my relationship with my wife a lot stronger. It’s allowed me to refocus on what’s important and how I should approach different things.”
“I definitely am glad to be back here, you know, where it all started at,’’ Ramirez said on Friday. “ I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’m very glad that it’s a place where I’ve been at where I do have my family and friends. I have my church here, I still have a few teammates on here and I know some of the staff. It’s great to be here.”
Ramirez was drafted in the fourth round in 2007 by the Lions. Months after he was released by the Lions he was picked up by the Denver Broncos where he has played ever since.
“Mr. John Elway gave me an opportunity and I’m very grateful for that and my experience in Denver was amazing. I can’t deny that,’’ Ramirez said. “I never had a winning record while I was here and to be able to go there and say that every year was a winning record is amazing. But now I’m back and I’m very excited about continuing that here. Just the difference between what it was then and what it is now, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Coach (Jim) Caldwell and the staff and so far what I’ve seen today it’s held up. I’m very excited to be a part of the team.”
Not only was he not expecting the deal, the timing made it a stressful day.
“It was kind of different, you know? It was just a crazy day for my family just because mainly my wife’s grandfather passed away yesterday,’’ Ramirez said. “To get that news and then get the news of being traded just kind of threw everything in a spin for us. But definitely am glad to be back here, you know, where it all started at. I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’m very glad that it’s a place where I’ve been at where I do have my family and friends. I have my church here, I still have a few teammates on here and I know some of the staff. It’s great to be here.”
After the Lions made the trade to move down to the 28th pick, they drafted guard Laken Tomlinson gaining two guards in a few minutes.
Ramirez was so busy dealing with changes in his life he didn’t realize the Lions had drafted another guard at first.
“When I look on TV and I’m actually talking with Mr. Elway on the phone, I see it that they did draft another guy here,’’ Ramirez said. “I’m excited that we have a very young offensive line here that they’re going to be able to build around and it’s going to be very competitive. I think I bring a lot to the table as far as being a good leader, the experience that I’ve been through. You know, teach them how to approach different situations and just being able to help the group as a whole.”
While Ramirez was with the Broncos they went to the Super Bowl, quite an achievement for a lineman who never had a winning season in Detroit.
“I think I had one of the best leaders in Denver with Peyton (Manning),’’ Ramirez said. “He’s a great leader, has a lot of experience, he’s proven himself and just by the way he presents himself and shows the type of dedication that he has for the game, that type of passion, it makes you want to fight for that and want to fight for him. It just ups everybody’s game.”
Ramirez still owns a home in Canton which he rents out to another Lions’ player. He wouldn’t name names.
While he’s devastated by the news of his wife’s grandfather, he’s staying here in Detroit this weekend instead of heading back to their home in Texas. His wife will have plenty of support while he starts his second go-around with the Detroit Lions.