No one should really question the toughness of Lions left tackle Taylor Decker anyway, but a story he recently shared absolutely cements it.
The 16th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, left tackle Taylor Decker is the longest-tenured Detroit Lion. On a playoff team his rookie season and with what followed, some could say he’s the longest-suffering Lion.
Be it because he’s an Ohio State alum, or because he has missed extended time a couple times in his career due to injuries, Lions fans have never seemed to have much affinity for Decker. But all along he has done his job as his quarterback’s blind side protector, and often done it well.
Decker was a guest this week on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. Previously unknown stories often come out of casual settings like that. Then there are stories like the one Decker revealed to the world.
Taylor Decker gives entirely fresh meaning to the word toughness
Here’s what Decker said on the podcast, via 97.1 The Ticket. The timeline is a couple days before the Lions’ 2020 season opener against the Chicago Bears.
"I woke up in the middle of the night sweating, shivering, my stomach hurt so bad,” Decker said this “I was like, I don’t know what’s going on. Am I constipated? Did I have too much Jet’s Pizza? I felt terrible, I was sweating, going crazy, shivering, sitting in the shower.And then I was like, I can’t tell anybody about this, I just signed a contract extension. Like, I have to play.”"
Decker played every snap in a 27-23 loss to Chicago. He finally told someone about his situation the following Wednesday, and he was sent for tests.
"Hey, I don’t feel good. Something’s going on with my stomach or my side or something like that.’”, “Oh yeah, you have appendicitis. You’ve had it for a week. You should have told us this sooner.’"
Here’s a clip from Decker’s appearance.
Appendicitis most often requires surgical removal of the appendix. Decker did not have his removed, opting to keep playing rather than miss any time.
"I was like, I can’t not play, I just signed a contract extension. I can’t be the guy that signs a contract and not play,” he said. “So they put me on antibiotics and I basically had appendicitis for the first month of the season and then the antibiotics made it go away.”"
Decker has not had any appendix issues since then, but since he still has his appendix he could get appendicitis again. If it does happen again, doctors told Decker he’d have to have his appendix removed.
Playing four games of football at left tackle with appendicitis is a fresh definition of toughness, and it’s got Decker’s name next to it now.