Years of disappointment and empty promises had left me close to the edge. Ready to give up on a team that I had followed so ardently for a couple of decades…in fact, so much so that I cancelled my season tickets after Martin Mayhew was handed the reigns permanently after the 0-16 season. How dare old man Ford treat us to nearly a decade of fecal matter just to turn the team over to Matt Millen’s henchman? I was appalled by the signing and predicted another decade of hopeless Autumns leading to depressing Thanksgivings and ultimately insignificant Decembers.
Color me wrong. I know I may be “drinking the Kool-Aid and snacking on cornbread”, as the overused sayings go around Detroit, but I can’t help but be impressed with how little Martin Mayhew has in common with his bumbling predecessor.
Not only has Mayhew given us solid draft picks like Ndamukong Suh, Louis Delmas, Brandon Pettigrew, Deandre Levy, Jahvid Best, and shoulder forbidding, Matthew Stafford, but he’s made some excellent free agent signings and trades as well. He’s resurrected more careers than Dancing With the Stars. Alphonso Smith, Corey Williams, Lawerence Jackson, Chris Houston, Bobby Carpenter, Stefan Logan and the recently departed Turk McBride were all guys no one else wanted, but have taken steps toward resurrecting their careers in Detroit. Do you think McBride’s agent is sending Mayhew a Chrismas Card this year after his client signed in New Orleans? I bet it’s one of those $5 cards that has Reindeer’s singing “Jingle Bells” on it.
So here we stand, on the Eve of the 2011 season, with a GM who appears to get it. He waited out Drew Rosenhaus’ inflated demands for Stephen Tulloch to lock the middle linebacker up for half what was previously reported. He pulled Eric Wright and his shattered ego out of Cleveland to help solidify the secondary. He’s taking a chance on an ultra-talented, but injury prone, Justin Durant–clearly the Lions #1 priority going into free agency. Finally, he resigned his own guys with the most value, including the underrated Chris Houston and local product Drew Stanton. He even locked up last years second half MVP, Dave Rayner, just to make sure he didn’t leave the Lions with a hole at kicker.
My guess is most of his moves this past week work out and the Lions move up a couple notches in the NFL pecking order. Thank you Mr. Mayhew for bringing what looks to be the beginnings of a real NFL franchise back to Detroit. In fact, give me another serving of Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid and piping hot cornbread, cause I just saddled up my new season ticket invoice.