Detroit Lions: 30 greatest players in franchise history
Doug English came to Detroit out of the University of Texas and he played for 10 seasons as a member of the defensive front for the Lions. English wasn’t a member of just any defensive front though.
He was the dynamo that provided a major interior spark for one of the most feared defensive fronts in NFL history, Detroit’s famed “Silver Rush” unit from the ’70s and ’80s. That respected unit of defenders began with English’s arrival to the team in 1975 and would go on to include Al “Bubba” Baker and a rotation of other key contributors.
Upon the completion of an awesome 1979 season, (which included six sacks of the quarterback and 90 tackles), English was named as Detroit’s most valuable player on defense. However, throughout his first five seasons, English had developed a considerable amount of angst with his team and situation.
In a refrain that has painfully become all too familiar to Lion fans, English felt that the physical and emotional toll of playing professional football was not worth it, especially since he played for a squad that constantly underperformed. Instead of leaving out the door to ply his trade for another team, at 27 years old, English sat out for the entirety of the 1980 season in order to decide what his priorities were.
English ultimately decided that he still had something left to offer to professional football. He came back to Detroit beginning with the 1981 season. However, postseason glory still eluded the Lions.
Nevertheless, English was busy re-establishing himself as a premier defensive tackle in the NFL. By the time dust had settled on his decade-long career, English was a four-time Pro Bowler that was well respected league wide.