Craig Reynolds: A feel-good story Lions fans can get behind

Detroit Lions running back Craig Reynolds (46) (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Lions running back Craig Reynolds (46) (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Everyone loves an underdog. And it seems like every season, the Detroit Lions are exactly that in the NFL. Having won just a single playoff game over the span of 63 years arguably makes you the greatest underdog in league history.

So, longtime fans of the Pride know a thing or two about cheering for an underdog. That’s why the feel-good story of running back Craig Reynolds and his journey with the Lions so far is one everyone should be able to get behind.

Reynold’s NFL journey started in a pretty unusual way, having played his college ball at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, an NCAA Division II school. There, the 5-foot-11, 225-pound running back racked up several honors including being named to the All-PSAC East First Team for three straight years.

At Kutztown, Reynolds would set school records in several categories including career rushing touchdowns (34), rushing yards in a game (261), and all-purpose yards in a game (345). In 2018, he’d be named team MVP and a team captain, the latter for the second year in a row. Reynolds would rush for 823 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and post a combined 18 touchdowns as a senior.

As a small-school prospect, Reynolds went undrafted out of Kutztown in 2019. But he was signed as a free agent by the Washington Football Team and started his NFL career on their practice squad. Reynolds would end up playing three games as a rookie, all of his snaps being on special teams.

Since then, Reynolds has had stints with the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville Jaguars, before landing a tryout with new Lions general manager Brad Holmes last Thursday. Detroit ended up signing the 25-year old running back a day before their preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Literally introducing himself to coaches on the sidelines and players in the huddle, Reynolds ended up leading the Lions in rushing yards against the Bills a day after being signed. He rushed for 49 yards on six carries and made the play of the game on a 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Here’s what Lions head coach Dan Campbell told about Reynold’s performance despite only having joined the team a day before the game.

"“It’s impressive. It really is. He’s kind of a guy where we’ll see where this goes, but he’s got that look in his eye and he did when he walked in (Thursday). You can tell it’s like, ‘Hey, man, I’m here to compete. I’ll know enough of this playbook. You can put me in there’ … He did some good things.”"

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While there are several storylines fans of the Detroit Lions will be watching carefully following an offseason full of so much change, the continuing journey of running back Craig Reynolds will be an underdog story everyone can cheer for.