Johnson: ‘Matt has looked good this preseason. He is on point.’

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 30, 2011 – 5:01 pm

“Saturday was the first time I’ve been to a preseason game at Ford Field that was sold out. It definitely felt like a regular season game just because the crowd was there and they were all into the game. It was big for us to go out there and get that ‘W’. It is preseason, but we had our minds right. We were ready to play, we limited our mistakes and came out with a win.

“As far as the receivers, we’ve still got to work on our technique. We strayed from it a little bit, but Shawn (Jefferson) was on us and we’re going to get back to it. I came out of the game feeling good – no more damage to the shoulder. Still getting better, so as far as that goes, it’s all good.

“Matt has looked good this preseason. He is on point, I will give him that. He is putting the ball where it is supposed to be, when it’s supposed to be there. Then we’re being where we’re supposed to be at, so it all helps out. We’re all coming together and making this thing work out the right way and I think if we keep that up, we stay sharp and stay tight on our details, we could have a heck of a season.

“As far as this week coming up, we need to keep our bodies in shape. I don’t know how much play time the starters are going to get, so we just need to keep our bodies in shape through this week because we’re going to have a couple days off and just staying mentally sharp.”

Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 29 Comments »

Jackson out to raise money to bring clean water to developing nations

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 30, 2011 – 11:30 am

Defensive end Lawrence Jackson is 26 years old today but, instead of gifts, he would like to give back to a worthy cause.

“We oftentimes forget how blessed we are – we have an abundance of a lot of things,” he said. “I’ve gone back and forth year after year of not wanting birthday gifts from people and this year it was presented to me to help fund wells and safe drinking water. When I saw that opportunity, I took it as a way to get everybody involved and contribute a 26-dollar gift or more for my birthday.”

The charity is, which helps fund clean water projects in developing nations.

“I know it started with a guy who, for his birthday, had all his friends over and asked them to put in 29 dollars,” said Jackson. “Then he took all that money and used it to buy water. I also know a bunch of celebrities have done it before, so that’s kind of where I got the idea from.”

This is the first time Jackson has done this. As of right now, he has raised $3,335 of his $5,000 goal.

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Lewand, Lions comment on sudden death of beat writer Tom Kowalski

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 29, 2011 – 1:18 pm

Tom Kowalski, longtime Detroit Lions writer for Booth Newspapers and, died this morning, according to his fiancee, Diane Wolan.

“The entire Lions organization, the Ford family, and me, personally, were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Kowalski this morning,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “Tom was a true professional, the consummate beat writer, somebody who brought a lot of tremendous information to our fans — even in times of disagreement; we always had the utmost respect for his professionalism.

“He will be sorely missed and our deepest sympathies go out to Diane and to his entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.”

“I’ll just say this about Tom,” said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. “The one thing he always tried to do was get it right. He knew football and he always wanted to get it right and we had a lot of respect for that.”

Schwartz lets the first question go unanswered in honor of Kowalski

“It was tough hearing the news today about Tom because I felt like I lost a good friend and not just a writer,” said Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham. “When he asked me questions, it was important to him to be right. Obviously, he always did his homework and that’s what I respected most about him. To me, he was an old-school writer. He was honest and fair.

“The way I look at him, he is all Detroit. People in this area that I met, they are all alike and he epitomized that. Our conversations were solid, and there was mutual respect for each other. Beyond football, we would also talk about life.

“I am sad that he is gone. God bless his family and friends.”

“On behalf of the team, we consider him part of the family; we saw him every day,” said center Dominic Raiola. “I dealt with Tom every day; I’d see him out here. (It will) take a lot of time to get over this.

“In the end, Tom always had the best interest of everybody in that locker room. He always wanted to know more about why things happened on the field and he always did a good job of that. He was a good person; he was fun to be around. (I) had a lot more personal relationship with him, so that was some tough news to hear.”

“I have too many (memories),” said kicker Jason Hanson. “It is one of those things, just like with everybody, takes you by surprise. It kind of knocks the wind out of you. You don’t know what to say or think yet. It is just amazing. Of all the reporters, I think he was the one that got it right most of the time and really had the insight.

“Beyond that, regardless of any of that, he will be missed by all of us. And everyone in this locker room, their condolences and their prayers and their thoughts go to his family and friends. I am just at a loss of words. I don’t know what to think. We all are like ‘Is it true?’ We are devastated.”

“Tom was a great guy,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford. “He was a big football guy; you could tell he knew football, he loved it. He was always a good guy in our locker room and we were blessed to have him around.

“As coach pointed out on the field, he said ‘You know, he always tried to get it right, which is something you respect from a reporter.’ He will definitely be missed.”

A collection of Tweets honoring Tom

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Posted in Blog | 47 Comments »

Bell, Rayner among eight released players

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 29, 2011 – 10:45 am

The Detroit Lions have announced the release of eight players:

  • WR Demario Ballard
  • RB Mike Bell
  • TE Richard Dickson (waived/injured)
  • LB DeJuan Fulghum
  • WR Marcus Harris
  • DB Michael Johnson
  • K Dave Rayner
  • DT Montavious Stanley

Detroit’s current roster is at 82. All teams must be at 80 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

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Johnson starting, Young active against Patriots

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 27, 2011 – 6:37 pm

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is in the starting lineup for tonight’s 8 p.m. match-up against the New England Patriots at Ford Field. Rookie wide receiver Titus Young is active for the first time this preseason.

Other starting line-up changes include defensive end Lawrence Jackson starting in place of Kyle Vanden Bosch and running back Aaron Brown starting in place of Jahvid Best.

Inactive players include (in numerical order):

  • RB Maurice Morris
  • CB Alphonso Smith
  • RB Mike Bell (illness)
  • RB Jahvid Best
  • T Jason Fox
  • DE Kyle Vanden Bosch
  • DT Nick Fairley

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Best, Vanden Bosch among players ruled out for Saturday’s game

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 26, 2011 – 1:42 pm

The Lions have announced which players have been ruled out for Saturday’s preseason game against New England:

  • RB Jahvid Best
  • DT Nick Fairley
  • T Jason Fox
  • RB Maurice Morris
  • DE Kyle Vanden Bosch
  • CB Alphonso Smith

Notable game-time decisions include wide receiver Calvin Johnson and rookie wide receiver Titus Young.

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Johnson: ‘It’s actually going to be Nate that’s going to be doing the celebrating’

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 25, 2011 – 3:13 pm

“I don’t even know what this whole touchdown celebration thing is about. Somebody came up to me today telling me that they’re talking about it on Sportscenter. I don’t celebrate. It’s actually going to be Nate that’s going to be doing the celebrating. He’s trying to get me to go in on it with him, but it’s a one-person thing.

“We talk about them, though. He always tells us what he’s going to do. He ran the Lebron one across us. My favorite one so far was the one he did in Dallas last year. He drew the star with his fingers and he punched through it. That was cool. We both came up with one for that game. He did that one and I stood on the star. I can’t wait to see this week’s celebration. I hope he practices it in the mirror.

“Nate’s been having a good preseason and it’s great to see that. It’s big. He’s doing a heck of a job out there. We have a lot more weapons at our disposal. He was a little knicked up last year, so that kind of takes away from what you can do, but it’s great to have him in full effect.

“He brings a lot of energy. He wakes everybody up, he gets everybody going. That’s just him. He does have a strong personality. He makes sure we’re ready to play.”

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Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 21 Comments »

Johnson: ‘I’m just working through it, staying in treatment and doing what I can to get back out there’

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 22, 2011 – 5:29 pm

“My shoulder is sore. I’m just working through it, staying in treatment and doing what I can to get back out there as soon as I can. I’m still practicing because keeping up with my conditioning is a big thing. You definitely don’t want to fall behind because, when that first game comes, you get winded out there.

“Camp is just about over and I’m definitely excited. That’s the consensus amongst everybody. We’re starting to watch film for the Patriots to start getting used to our regular season schedule. We don’t get into it too deep -  just watch film once or twice and we don’t really game plan too much. It’s more working on what we do.

“Our offense has looked good our first two games, but we still don’t have everyone on the field. Of course I think about what the offense will be like with everyone available. The biggest thing is making sure everybody’s healthy. You don’t want to lose people here in the preseason. You definitely want to start the season with all your guys. Titus got on the field this week and he’s looking good. He has quick feet and good hands, so once he’s fully healed and ready to go, he’ll be an added weapon.

“We’ve got some talent out there on the field if we can just get everybody out there at the same time. That’s the biggest part is getting to that point where everybody’s healthy and can start the season off the right way. That’s a big goal of ours.

“I’m looking forward to seeing family this weekend. I haven’t seen my mom in awhile – in about a month. I’ve got some friends coming up here, too. I’m not really able to do anything with my parents because we don’t have a lot of time. They are just in and out – they just come up for the games – so we’ll probably go out to dinner on Friday night before we check into the hotel. I look forward to seeing my parents come up for the game.”

Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 15 Comments »

Backus, Johnson, Young all practicing

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 21, 2011 – 3:06 pm

Tackle Jeff Backus has been activated off the Active/Non-Football Injury list and is currently practicing with the team. Tackle Isaac Sowells was released to make room on the roster for Backus.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who did not play Friday at Cleveland, is also practicing along with fellow wide receiver Titus Young.

During individual drills, returner Stefan Logan took reps with the running backs while starting running back Jahvid Best did not practice.

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Posted in Blog | 9 Comments »

Pete Fierle Blog: Pro Football Hall of Fame

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 19, 2011 – 12:55 pm

Pete Fierle is a digital manager with the Pro Football Hall of Fame website. His familiarity with the game’s history is a result of spending two decades working in the Hall’s archives surrounded by the world’s largest collection of pro football information. His many duties include overseeing the Hall’s website as well as the day-to-day operation of the Archives & Information Center.

Yesterday, he wrote a blog surrounding Head Coach Jim Schwartz and the 2011 Detroit Lions visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Anyone who says today’s NFL players don’t have an appreciation for those who came before them should have witnessed the Detroit Lions visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last night. Coach Jim Schwartz secretly arranged for the team to visit the Hall Thursday. The team busses took an hour detour en route to Cleveland for tonight’s preseason game to visit us.”

Read the full blog on the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.

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