Detroit Lions Young Captains Motivated By Honors

By Bret Kenwell

The Detroit Lions have named six captains for the upcoming 2012 season.  Each year, the players on the team vote for the captains, making the honor even more rewarding, knowing that coaches and players alike have their respect–both on and off the field. It was important for the Lions to select players that provide the proper locker room leadership, and potentially more importantly, the off-field leadership.  The Lions were plagued by arrests and bad publicity throughout the off-season, something many are trying to prevent from happening a second time.

Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Jason Hanson, Stephen Tulloch, Kyle Vanden Bosch and John Wendling were announced as the team captains, with only one of them wearing the golden “C.” So which one is your guess? Possibly Stafford, the quarterback who runs the explosive offensive show? How about Tulluch, the Lions vocal defensive leader? Nope, it’s Hanson.  Now playing in his 21st NFL season, Hanson’s golden “C” will signify that he has been a Lions captain for four years or more.  2012 will mark his sixth straight season in which he has received the captain honors.

“For them to vote me captain is an unbelievable feeling,” said Tulloch, referring to his teammates. He went on to say, “I know hard work pays off and guys recognize that I put the work and time and effort in to help my team and to become a better player. It’s very humbling.” In my mind, especially in the Lions’ case, it’s important to have guys like this that feel the honor of being voted captain.  A leader that is vocal in the locker room and on the field, but one that can help guide some of the troubled younger players in the right direction.

Calvin Johnson, being voted captain for the first time, said he was alerted via text message. “I was texted by Jim to tell me I was named a captain. It was good to get a text from him. It is cool because your teammates vote on it. It’s a hell of a responsibility, but at the same time I’m still going to do what I’ve been doing, but be even better–even more so–as far as setting a good example for the young fellas,” he later said on his new duties.

The Lions certainly picked a good crew to lead them this season.  After a stellar rebound in Mo-Town last year, the Lions will look to avoid slumping this year while riding the coattails of their new leaders.  As Johnson went on to say, “I don’t want them [to] see me doing anything wrong and then they feel it’s okay and then they go on and get in trouble for it. That’s the biggest thing is being a good role model for everybody on the team.” Certainly something the Lions players will have to keep in mind throughout the season if they want to reach the playoffs for consecutive seasons.

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