Entering his second season, safety Louis Delmas is coming off of an impressive rookie year that included 91 tackles (63 solo), a sack, 2 interceptions (including one for a touchdown), a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown and 8 pass defenses.
After enduring several injuries over the course of the season, Delmas took a “good, hard month” off from football and is back to feeling good, relaxed and ready to take his place as a defensive leader.
Delmas: “The big thing is me stepping in and – I don’t like using the term rookie – but as far as me stepping in as a rookie (last year), coming in and playing my role of being a leader on the team, I think I did an okay job of that; (but) I don’t think I did well enough to get a couple of more wins out there.
“That’s one thing that I’m really focused on right now, trying to be a leader on the field, that way once the game situations come, where there needs to be a leadership role, I can be that person that steps in and says something.”
One of the things that has enabled Delmas to be more comfortable in a leadership role has been taking part in the offseason program and getting to know some of the new acquisitions on the secondary.
Delmas: “We have a lot of great guys. One thing up until this point is that everybody is very cool with each other. We listen to one another. We don’t have a couple of different groups that while one is working out, the other is over here talking – everybody respects each other’s work and play out there. I think we’ll be great.”
Another area on defense that the Lions have worked on strengthening this offseason is the defensive line. With the addition of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Corey Williams, Delmas is excited to see how that will help the secondary.
Delmas: “Let me tell you, that helps us tremendously. There’s nothing like having a quarterback have three seconds to throw the ball. That’s real big on the secondary. That gives us a chance to let our hair back and take more shots instead of sitting back and letting the quarterback take shots on us. Having a great d-line is a big thumbs up for us.”
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The Detroit Lions have seven draft choices for this year’s NFL Draft, acquiring one via trade and trading away three in player acquisitions.
|5||15||146||(From Denver; Traded to Cleveland)|
|6||2||171||Traded to Atlanta|
|7||2||210||Traded to Buffalo|
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In celebration of the 75th NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 pm ET, fans have the opportunity to vote on NFL.com to select the 75 Most Valuable Draft Picks of all time.
10 players from each team were selected by NFL.com editors to compile a list of 320 players from the first 74 drafts. For the Detroit Lions: Jerry Ball, Lem Barney, Lomas Brown, Jack Christiansen, Yale Larry, Alex Karras, Barry Sanders, Charlie Sanders, Joe Schmidt and Wayne H. Walker, have all made the cut.
Fans will begin the process of determining the Most Valuable Draft Pick by choosing between pairs of players randomly generated from the list of 320 greats. After selecting winners of 30 random matchups, fans will begin to build their own Top 10 list. Fans may continue to vote in order to make changes to their personal Top 10 list as well as the All-Time Top 10 announced at the Draft. Users then may share their lists and their head-to-head winners on Facebook.
The results of picks 11-75 will be announced from April 19-April 22 on NFL.com and NFL Network. The Top 10 greatest Draft picks will be revealed during the 2010 NFL Draft.
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On Monday, March 21, the Lions were awarded the final pick (255th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft when the league determined compensatory draft choices.
The final pick of the draft is also known as “Mr. Irrelevant” and each year the selection takes on somewhat a life of its own. For being Mr. Irrelevant, the player is invited to take part in Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach, California.
Here is a brief description of Irrelevant Week and the annual celebration of the player selected at that position (for more information, visit: irrelevantweek.com).
Irrelevant Week is a week-long celebration of the Underdog, the final pick of the NFL draft, held in Orange County. Events include a golf tournament, a regatta and a sports banquet, and are open to the public. The idea for this celebration was formulated in 1976 by Irrelevant Week’s founder and chief spokesperson, Paul Salata.
Salata, a former USC football standout and fan of the underdog, started the Irrelevant madness in 1976 when U. of Dayton wide receiver Kelvin Kirk was selected 487th and dead last by the Pittburgh Steelers. Capped by the presentation of the Lowsman Trophy, many sports celebrities join in the fun of roasting and toasting the final NFL draft pick before he ventures to NFL Rookie Orientation Camp.
In 2007, the Lions also held the final slot of the draft and selected CB Ramzee Robinson out of Alabama. In the past 34 years, 2007 was the only time the Lions have held the final pick of the NFL Draft.
Since this is a compensatory selection, the pick cannot be traded.
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After re-signing with Detroit as an unrestricted free agent, 12-year veteran and Michigan native, tackle Jon Jansen, is looking forward to spending another season in Detroit.
Jansen: “I’m very excited to be back in Detroit for another year. I think we have everything headed in the right direction. I want to be a part of returning the Lions to where they should be and I think this year is going to be a major step in doing that.
“It’s my hometown and the state of Michigan is where I’ve always lived, even when I played for Washington. To be able to be close to home, family and friends and to be able to be close to the University of Michigan are all important factors in deciding to come back to Detroit.”
Having spent the first 10 years of his career with the Washington Redskins, Jansen signed as a free agent with Detroit in 2009 and served as a back-up offensive lineman. He was active for 11 games, including two starts.
While Jansen didn’t receive significant playing time on offense, his veteran leadership and experience has served as an invaluable addition to the line and is something that he prides himself in sharing with his teammates.
Jansen: “I obviously want to come in and compete for a starting spot, whether it’s right tackle or anywhere across the offensive line. I understand there are some positions that are probably secure and in that I want to push those guys to get better and also use my experience to relate some information to Gos (Cherilus), Jeff (Backus), Dom (Raiola) and all of those guys up there. I want to use what I’ve learned over the last 11 years in the NFL to help better our offensive line.”
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On March 10, the Lions announced the signing of free agent cornerback Jonathan Wade, who spent the previous three seasons of his career with the St. Louis Rams where he was drafted in third round (84th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft.
For Wade, Detroit offers a fresh start and an exciting opportunity.
Wade on signing with Detroit: “A great opportunity was here. I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff after meeting with them Monday morning. The vibe I was searching for was definitely present.
“A vibe of honestly; (their) only purpose is to win games, to find a way to win games and (they) want people who firmly believe that they’re going to turn everything around and start winning games.”
Over the span of 47 career games, including six starts, Wade has recorded 47 tackles (42 solo), 2 interceptions, 7 pass defenses and 23 special teams tackles.
As a player who can contribute on both defense and special teams, Wade is looking to make an impact in any area that he can – but is aiming for a starting spot.
Wade: “I’m coming here to fight for a starting position, no matter what. I’m not coming here just trying to make the team. At the end of the day, you do what you are; you want to make the team, you want to have a job at the end of the day. But beyond that, I want to start on this team; I want to be a part of this team turning it around and going to the Super Bowl. I want to be a very strong part of that.”
On his visit, Wade got a good feel for the Lions’ defensive philosophy from defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham – and that got him excited to be a part of it.
Wade: “I guess everybody that plays defense wants a hard-nosed defense. But at the same time, they like animals; someone who’s going to go out there and just become an animal. After talking to Coach Gunther, I really get the sense that he’s a very exciting coach and he really got my blood flowing. I felt a good sense of honesty because he bleeds honesty and I felt that looking into his eyes and listening to him speak – I felt that he’s going to find a way to win, and not just win, he’s going to find a way to dominate and destroy. All of that is how I think.”
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This morning team President Tom Lewand announced which of the Lions’ nine restricted free agents would be tendered and the level they would be tendered at.
Player Tender Offer & Compensations:
DE Copeland Bryan – Not tendered
S Daniel Bullocks – Right of First Refusal (ROFR) & Original Draft Compensation*
C Dylan Gandy – ROFR & Original Draft Compensation
CB Kevin Hobbs – ROFR
DE Jason Hunter – ROFR & 2nd Round Compensation
G Daniel Loper – ROFR
G Manny Ramirez – ROFR & Original Draft Compensation
S Ko Simpson – ROFR & Original Draft Compensation
LB Cody Spencer – Not tendered
* NFL Rules state that if a team uses a second-round tender on a player who’s original round is less than that, then the compensation for any other former second-round pick who is tendered at their original round must drop one round. Since DE Jason Hunter entered the league as an undrafted free agent and was tendered with ROFR/2nd round pick, the compensation for S Daniel Bullocks, who was tendered at his original round (2nd round), would drop to a third round pick.
Lewand also confirmed the following players would be retained as exclusive rights free agents: LB Zack Follett, G Corey Hilliard, TE Jake Nordin, RB Cedric Peerman and CB DeAngelo Smith.
Among the players listed, defensive end Jason Hunter, who originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent, was tendered the highest based on his contributions last season.
Lewand: “Jason obviously contributed last year in a pretty significant way after we claimed him off waivers. I think he showed that he’s got the ability to contribute even more as he stays in the system and (grows in) his role. As we get more players in here and we get more talent around all of them, the guys who remain here will become even better and I put Jason in that category. Jason has value; defensive ends are valuable commodities in this league. It’s a valuable position and Jason had some production there last year.”
Moving forward, the main focus for Lewand and the rest of the Lions’ front office will be the free agent market.
With the start of free agency beginning tonight at midnight, they’ll have their work cut out for them.
Lewand: “As Martin (Mayhew) said last week, our plan is to be selectively aggressive. We have always been able to put together actions that match our plan and we’ll be ready tonight to be on the phone. After midnight, we’ll be in touch with the players that we’re interested in and we’ll see where it takes us. But we’re prepared and our team has done a good job of getting ready for the free agency period to begin and we’re looking forward to starting after midnight tonight.”
2010 NFL FREE AGENCY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Q. When can players start being signed in the 2010 free agency signing period?
A. Beginning at 12:01 AM ET on Friday, March 5.
Q. What are the categories of free agency?
A. Players are either “restricted” or “unrestricted” free agents. Within the categories are also “transition” and “franchise” players.
Q. What is the time period for free agency signings this year?
A. For restricted free agents, from March 5 to April 15. For unrestricted free agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior Club, from March 5 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). For franchise players, from March 5 until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the regular-season (November 16). If he does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. There are no transition player designations this year.
Q. What is the difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent?
A. In the 2010 League Year, players become restricted free agents when they complete three, four or five accrued seasons and their contract expires. Unrestricted free agents have completed six or more accrued seasons. An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club with no compensation owed to his old club.
Q. What constitutes an “accrued season?”
A. Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved-injured or “physically unable to perform” lists.
Q. Other than accrued seasons, what determines a restricted free agent?
A. He has received a “qualifying” offer (a salary level predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players) from his old club. He can negotiate with any club through April 15. If the restricted free agent accepts an offer sheet from a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because it has the “right of first refusal.” If the old club does not match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, and the player receives the June 1 tender from his old club, the player’s rights revert exclusively to his old club on June 1.
Q. What determines an unrestricted free agent?
A. A player with six or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired. He is free to sign with any club, with no compensation owed to his old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). At that point, his rights revert to his old club if it made a “tender” offer (110 percent of last year’s salary) to him by June 1. His old club then has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (November 16) to sign him. If he does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season.
Q. What determines a transition player?
A. A transition player must be offered a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of the prior season at the player’s
position or 120 percent of the player’s prior year’s salary, whichever is greater. A transition player designation gives
the club a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another club after his
contract expires. If the club matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no draft pick compensation
from that club. In 2010, a club may designate a franchise player or a transition player in lieu of a franchise player, as
well as one additional transition player.
Q. What determines a franchise player?
A. The salary level offer by a player’s club determines what type of franchise player he is. An “exclusive” franchise player — not free to sign with another club — is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year as of April 15, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, or the average of the top five salaries at his position as of the end of last season — whichever of the three is greater. If a player is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries of last season at his position, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, he becomes a “non-exclusive” franchise player and can negotiate with other clubs. His old club can match a new club’s offer, or receive two first-round draft choices if it decides not to match.
Q. Can a club decide to withdraw its franchise or transition designations on a player?
Q. Can a club then use them on other players?
A. Not in the 2010 season. A club can withdraw its franchise or transition designations and the player then automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent either immediately or when his contract expires.
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