Detroit Lions: Which player has the most to prove?

Detroit Lions helmet Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions helmet Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

Like all teams, the Detroit Lions do have some players under the microscope. But what returning player just might have the most to prove?

Detroit principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp hopes that 2021 is the beginning of a golden era for her Lions. An era of pro football this city hasn’t seen since the 1950s.

We are all very cognizant of how many decades it’s been since the Detroit Lions ruled the NFL jungles. As a matter of fact, if we wish to get some good context of how long it’s been since the last time the Lions won it all, that was before the AFL/NFL merger. Truth be told it was even before there was an AFL, and that 12 team NFL that the Motor City ruled over has since added another 20  teams.

The 1950s NFL is ancient history today. There is no way to connect these Lions with their championship forefathers from so long ago. One could even point out how those champions played at Briggs Stadium before it was Tiger stadium and before they moved to the Pontiac Silverdome before arriving at their current home Ford Field.

After George Wilson navigated Detroit to the 1957 title, the Lions have seen 29 head coaches, including interim head coaches, come and go. Dan Campbell is now the 30th head coach since that last championship.

Plain and simple a lot has changed over the years except for the losing. Bad coaches, bad players, and bad ownership have shackled this franchise and kept them from ever truly coming close to another title.

For those who wish to point out the 1991 season and the Lions trip to the NFC championship game, forget it. That team may have authored the only postseason win for this franchise since 1957, but they were unmasked in Washington as the pretenders they were by a final score of 41-10.

All that bad history can’t be re-written at this point. But Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes are endeavoring to build a new future. A future that consists of battling for championships.

So as they turn over the roster left behind by former head coach Matt Patricia, which has already been infused by hand-picked players from this new regime, which players will impress Campbell enough to stay? And perhaps even more intriguing, what player that Campbell has inherited may have the most to prove?