Taylor Decker reflects on his journey as a Detroit Lion

Taylor Decker has seen it all during eight seasons and counting as a Detroit Lion, so he's naturally able to reflect on it all now.
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A first-round pick out of Ohio State in the 2016 NFL Draft, Taylor Decker has seen it all over eight seasons as the Detroit Lions' left tackle. A playoff game as a rookie, then a full bottoming-out during Matt Patricia's reign of ineptitude and now the rise to the NFC Championship Game last season.

Entering the final year of his contract, as obviously the longest-tenured player on the team, Decker made it clear what his future plans are before the offseason really started.

"I definitely want to end my career here,” Decker told MLive. “I would say ultimately, for me, this is where I want to be. Of course you want money, but for me, I like being here. I love being here. I was able to be a part of climbing out of the trenches of it, and it’s been fun the past year-and-a-half to see the flip side of it. Whatever happens with the contract, I don’t know..... But ultimately, do I want to be here forever? One-hundred percent. So, we’ll see.”

Decker does not yet have a new contract, but it seems certain it will happen. Leaving that aside, Decker recently reflected on his career journey with ESPN's Eric Woodyard.

Taylor Decker has seen it all during his time as a Lion

Decker has played for four head coaches-Jim Caldwell, Patricia, Darrell Bevel (interim that replaced Patricia in 2020) and Dan Campbell. The Lions have had two three-win seasons in his career, and four seasons above .500.

Campbell's introductory press conference is the stuff of legend now, as his "kneecap biting" comments invited pity laughs from some who saw him as some kind of neanderthal. But little did anyone know then that Campbell's words, unique as they were, were a preview of the culture he planned to instill.

In terms of speaking directly to players that day in January of 2021, Decker liked the message from his then-new head coach.

"I loved [the speech]. I thought it was great because he was wearing his heart on his sleeve and he was speaking -- especially in hindsight, knowing what I know now -- those were like core beliefs to him. Those were things that he truly and deeply believed in and wanted to do..... I liked his introductory press conference because he was kind of rough around the edges and you don't always gotta be buttoned up. We fight for a living, that's what we do, and he represents that and embodies that and the fact that he has walked the walk -- he played 11 years -- that lends credibility."

When asked by Woodyard who the Lions will be in 2024 and beyond, Decker centered his comments around one word.

"If I had to put it in one word, I would just say contender. I know it's gonna be very hard, if not harder, than it was last year because people might do a little extra homework when they're playing us, but just knowing the character of our locker room, that's just what we, as a team, want to be about. And if you're not trying to compete for championships, much like me taking pride in what I do, it's like, 'what are we doing here?' "

"This is all about winning. That's what we're here for and I think Brad and Dan have done it the right way for however long they're gonna be here. That's what we're gonna be doing."

Decker has surgery on his foot and ankle this offseason, repairing a deltoid, removing bone spurs, etc. Earlier in the offseason program he said he felt great, and had begun working out practically immediately in mid-February.

The entire piece by Woodyard is a cool read, highlighting tentpole moments in Decker's career as he offers his memories of them.