Jeff Okudah spoke to the Atlanta media on Tuesday, and naturally talked about his departure from the Lions as well as his new opportunity.
Even if a long list of national pundits like to consider it a real needle mover for the Detroit Lions, the writing was on the wall for Jeff Okudah. The moves made it free agency pushed him down the depth chart, and his $11.5 million fifth-year option was not going to be picked up by them.
So it was not surprising when Okudah was traded, to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round pick in the draft this weekend. The explanations from Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes were cut-and-dry, reflecting how cut-and-dry the move was for them. Okudah did not have a place in the future plans.
But for Okudah, it’s a change of scenery that it seems he needs. After have his first two seasons wrecked by injuries, he was mostly healthy in his third NFL season last season and had some good moments up through about Thanksgiving. Then his play fell off, and he was benched.
Jeff Okudah talks about Lions’ departure and new opportunity with the Falcons
Okudah had an introductory session with the Atlanta media on Tuesday. Via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he started with a description of his exit from the Lions but quickly moved on to cite his new opportunity in Atlanta.
"I would say a little bittersweet from the standpoint of the relationships that you form playing for a team for three years,” “But I was definitely excited about the opportunity to have a fresh start here in Atlanta. And [it’s] kind of an opportunity to wipe the slate clean.”"
It’s not like he’d say anything else. but Okudah also said he agreed with the sentiment from Campbell and Holmes that it was best for all parties to move on. He should have an opportunity to win a starting job with the Falcons, while his status on the Lions’ roster (especially if they draft a cornerback) was a growing question mark.