Cut Day: A Detroit Lions Fan’s Guide


Sep 3, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell looks on during the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are no different than other teams in that they look forward to finalizing the 53-man as this is the officially end of the off-season program. Hundreds of young men know ”Cut Day’ could signal the end of their NFL dreams.

We’ve all seen fans troll fringe players who are cut calling them bums, china dolls and worse on social media. I’d like to think we’re better than that in Lions Nation. We’re a pride; which means we take care of our own. So if a player has ever donned the Honolulu Blue it’s our job as fans to let them know they’ve achieved something special.

When following a NFL team through training camp, it’s only human to find oneself rooting for certain players. Taylor Mays was a player I hoped would latch on in Detroit. He has the prototypical build of a strong safety and I hoped he would provide depth for Ihedigbo is injury or fatigue struck.

Joseph Fauria is another player I’ve supported. He’s managed to alienate fans for various reasons, however when healthy he’s one of the NFL’s most dangerous redzone weapons. With starting tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron combining for a mere 35 receptions, 318 yards and only one touchdown in 2014, I can’t help but think a healthy Joseph Fauria could’ve added production to the team.

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Mays reportedly asked for his release a couple of weeks ago, although some think his fate was sealed long before he made the request. Fauria may not have the luxury of deciding his fate with the Lions.

What’s certain is neither player entered camp hoping to sneak onto the roster.

For most of their lives both men had been alpha males among their peers. As youths, when pickup games were played they weren’t just the first guys picked. No, their peers probably considered it an unfair advantage for either of them to actually play the on the schoolyard with other kids.

Oct 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria (80) catches a pass during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Most likely, Mays and Fauria had to pick the teams, but weren’t allowed to play in games. Or if they did play, were relegated to ‘only’ play quarterback so the other kids could enjoy a more competitive contest.

A few years later, they’ve become the proverbial fat kid at the end of the bench. They can’t crack an NFL lineup and when they do, they find themselves physically or mentally overmatched. For players like Mays and Fauria this probably represents the first time in their athletic lives in which this has been the case.

Once this stark realization takes hold, they can’t process what’s going on as a normal person would. You see, the prevalence of cameras lay in wait for any raw expression of emotion.

In the NFL we can tolerate a fist bump, a pat on the back or a roughly spiked football. What we can’t stomach is seeing our athletes show any signs of weakness. Even fringe players aren’t afforded a chance to show normal human emotion even as they face being fired or demoted or as the NFL dubs it, being cut or placed on the practice squad.

These athletes make tons of money. They chose their vocation and all that comes with it. No one denies this. The Lions own Darryl Tapp stated, they’re “playing a kid’s game for a king’s ransom.”

What often goes unnoticed is the tireless devotion most players have expended to get to the cusp of making an NFL roster.

Quite often these men have worked 20+ years without pay to earn one shot at suiting up as a member of our Detroit Lions. They didn’t set out to become mediocre. They came in hoping to make a mark on the franchise and the NFL large.

While they may have fallen short, let us remember the adage ‘steel sharpens steel.’ If Lions starters and depth players are better now than they were at the start of camp credit should go to bubble roster players who aided in their development along the way.

Furthermore, players like Greg Salas and Jermelle Cudjo made it possible to sit superstars like Calvin Johnson and Haloti Ngata by showing enough talent at their respective positions to give opponents an honest challenge.

Therefore even if players don’t make the final roster, they’ve indirectly contributed to whatever successes the Lions enjoy in 2015. For this they deserve a hearty thanks and a classy farewell. Let’s give them a good send off so in future years, other free agents will choose Detroit over other destination in part because of how we treat players when they become part of OnePride.

Next: Detroit Lions: Final 53 Man Roster Prediction

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