Darius Slay: A Retrospective

 Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay was recently named a team captain ahead of a Week One matchup against his former team, the Detroit Lions. This emotional moment for Slay comes just before the start of his 10 NFL season, his third with the Eagles. Slay has never been named a team captain before in his career.  

However, in some sense, he very much was a captain during his time with the Detroit Lions. Slay was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, spent seven years in Detroit, and accumulated multiple accolades including three Pro Bowl appearances and one-season All-Pro. Slay was one of the more vocal leaders during his stint with Detroit, which even resulted in multiple playoff appearances. Despite no playoff victories, a very strong foundation was built under head coach Jim Caldwell. 

When Matt Patricia was named head coach of the Lions, Slay was very vocal about the lack of leadership under the new regime. Slay admitted that he had lost respect for head coach Matt Patricia after multiple comments were made about Slay’s abilities. Slay was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in March of 2020 after Patricia’s second season as head coach. Patricia was fired during his third seasons as Detroit Lions head coach.

Despite a rocky ending to Slay’s time in Detroit, Slay still holds Detroit in high regards.

“The only thing that’s different is that’s like my second home. I was there for seven years. I appreciate Martin Mayhew (former Lions general manager) taking a chance on drafting me, the Lions organization for taking a chance on me being there,” Slay said. “I’ve got a lot of family there. I built a lot of relationships, so it’s a good home visit for me. I appreciate the fans, for sure. I’m real big in the community there, so it’s going to be a good feeling to be in Detroit.” 

Slay returned to Detroit last season to face the Lions in a Week Eight matchup. The Eagles blew out the Lions 44-6, and Slay contributed with a 33 yard fumble return for a touchdown.  

Slay’s second return to Detroit comes this Sunday, September 11 at 1 p.m ET. The Philadelphia Eagles are currently favored by four points. With much improvement to the defensive side of the ball for the Eagles, including linebackers Haason Reddick, Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean, rookie defensive lineman Jordan Davis, cornerback James Bradberry and safeties Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Anthony Harris, it will be very intriguing to see how well of a season Slay has in Philadelphia.

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