As the NFL season is getting closer with the 2014 NFL Draft right around the corner, several teams began their offseason workouts on Monday. The only teams that were allowed to start their workouts were teams that hired new coaches in the offseason. One of those teams was the Detroit Lions.
While these workouts aren’t mandatory, teams do encourage players to show up and participate with teammates to get chemistry going early. One of the surprising shows on the Lions’ first day of offseason workouts was defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
During the offseason, GM Martin Mayhew announced that the team would not be picking up Fairley’s fifth-year option in hopes that he would be motivated to have a strong 2014 season. It looks as though Fairley has responded to Mayhew’s challenge early by showing up to the team’s facility on Monday. According to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com, Fairley already looked slightly leaner than he did last season.
Fairley is going into his fourth season and is coming off what was easily his best season in 2013 with 22 tackles, six sacks and two fumble recoveries. While it could have been easy for the team to exercise his fifth-year option, it was wise for them not to, giving Fairley extra motivation for the upcoming season.
His partner in crime Ndamukong Suh was absent from the opening day of team workouts, but that should come as no surprise as he is still working on getting his contract situated. The team is confident in Suh’s ability to stay in shape on his own during the offseason.
Fairley and Suh make one of the most fearsome interior defensive line combinations in the entire NFL, and when they are both on their game, they can wreak havoc against any team in the league. Given that Fairley has extra motivation for this season and is already determined to prove himself to the front office, that could spell bad news for opposing teams this season.