The Detroit Lions haven’t exactly been a destination spot for players in the prime of their careers, but you still probably forgot these five guys played for them.
With no championships since 1957 and no playoff wins since the 1991 season, the Detroit Lions haven’t exactly been a spot players land when they have ample options in the free agency era. And a couple stars they drafted highly, Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, retired when they seemingly had plenty left in the tank but were simply (in part) tired of losing. Matthew Stafford’s exit was more recent and more amicable, as he asked to be moved in 2021 rather than be around for a rebuild.
With that history in mind, social media tried to start a conversation that Jameson Williams was not thrilled to be drafted by the Lions in April (which he has dismissed). But the whole thing was an attempt to feed the narrative the Lions are a team no one wants to play for–whether it’s reality or not.
Their tenures weren’t that long, or necessarily particularly successful on an individual basis, but here are five players you surely forgot played for the Detroit Lions.
5 players you forgot played for the Detroit Lions
5. LB Pepper Johnson
Johnson won two Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants, and he’s had a long career as an assistant coach spanning the NFL, XFL, AAF and now the USFL. After the Giants during his playing career, he played for former Giants’ defensive coordinator Bill Belichick in Cleveland (1993-95) and Bill Parcells again with the New York Jets (1997-1998).
But there’s one stray, accounted for season in Johnson’s playing career. He had a transition or a “gap” year in 1996, which he spent with the Lions. In 15 games (12 starts) during Wayne Fontes’ last season as head coach, he had 70 total tackles (fourth on the team).