It’s been a thing from the beginning of the new regime, but reuniting has remained a recurring theme for the Detroit Lions.
Players returning to play for the Detroit Lions, or reuniting with coaches they worked with, has been a thing since the arrival of head coach Dan Campbell in 2021. He brought Aaron Glenn with him from New Orleans to be his defensive coordinator. Campbell had previously worked in Miami with a young offensive assistant who was on staff, and he kept Ben Johnson as his tight end coach. Linebacker Alex Anzalone, who played for the Saints when Campbell and Glenn were there, signed with the Lions as a free agent.
Moving to 2022, former Lions first-round linebacker Jarrad Davis returned to Detroit after leaving for the Jets in 2021. Davis’s return was short-lived, as he spent the season on the practice squad after not making the 53-man roster. He signed with the New York Giants during the season.
Safety and special teams ace C.J. Moore, who had been with Detroit since 2019, signed with the Texans practice squad early in the season after being waived in camp with an injury settlement. Moore reunited with the Lions midway through last season, and came back as a free agent last week on a two-year deal worth up to $4.5 million.
Reuniting feels so good for the Detroit Lions
College teammates reunited in Detroit in the first wave of free agency this year. Cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley and Cam Sutton were college teammates at the University of Tennessee. Defensive back C.J. Gardner Johnson reunited with his former secondary coach Glenn when he signed with the Lions
Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin came back to the Lions this week. He was drafted by the Lions in 2017, and spent last season with the Houston Texans. Reeves-Maybin is reuniting with Moseley and Sutton, his college teammates at Tennessee. Moseley acknowledged how Campbell talked about Reeves-Maybin in 2021, and how that influenced his decision to sign with the Lions when he was a guest on MLive’s Dungeon of Doom Podcast.
"“So I know what type of character guys (Campbell) wants, and what he likes to see, and I can see that through a reflection of him. “That’s what really triggered me to make my decision (to sign) here.” -Emmanuel Moseley on the Dungeon of Doom Podcast"
Another former Lion came back in free agency this year. Guard Graham Glasgow, a Lions third-round pick in 2016 out of Michigan, re-signed with Detroit last week after spending three seasons in Denver.
Players and coaches are finding themselves at home in the Motor City. That has not been the case for many years, if ever. Once players leave the Lions, they usually never look back. Campbell, a former Lions player himself, is making Detroit a place people want to be–and come back to.