The Detroit Lions have had their fair share of forgettable players over the years. While they’re not on the level of the Las Vegas Raiders, they’ve still had quite a few. Between former veterans that played their final seasons with Detroit, to draft picks that didn’t work out, we are going to go over 5 players you forgot played for the Lions.
Dwight Freeney (2017)
With over 120 sacks in his career, it is safe to say that Freeney definitely has a case to make the pro football hall of fame. He’s a 3-time all-pro, a 7-time pro bowler, and a super bowl champion. For as impressive as that sounds, it was all while he was with the Indianapolis Colts, whom he played with from 2002-2012.
After his tenure with the Colts, he bounced around a few organizations. He played for the Chargers in 2013 and ‘14, the Cardinals in 2015, and the Falcons in 2016, and spent half of 2017 in Seattle before ending up in Detroit.
He was a midseason acquisition, so he was not expected to have much of a role with the team. But for him to put up 0 tackles in 5 games is shockingly impressive. Definition of a forgettable tenure, and a disappointing end to an excellent career.
5 games played, 0 tackles, 0 sacks
Titus Young (2011-2012)
This is one of the sadder cases on this list. Titus Young definitely could have been a star in this league, but he could not stay out of his own way. A second-round pick out of Boise State in 2011, Young was expected to be a complementary receiver on the other side of Calvin Johnson. Sadly, this was not the case.
Young frequently feuded with Johnson as well as other players and coaches during his tenure and even ended up getting benched as a result. There were occasions where he’d purposely run the wrong route in a laughable attempt to plead his case to be the number 1 receiver. Yes, this 23-year-old kid wanted to be the number 1 receiver. Over Calvin Johnson. The year he broke the record for most yards in a season. That should tell you all you need to know about his attitude and ego.
Alright, that’s a lie. The Titus Young situation goes way beyond potential point-shaving. After getting cut in 2013, Young was arrested twice in 24 hours. He’d end up getting arrested several more times before ending up in prison in 2017 for his role in a street fight. CTE is a hell of a thing, and it, unfortunately, derailed this young man’s life. He is now 33 years old and out of prison, so we can all hope he turns it around.
81 catches, 990 yards, 10 touchdowns in 26 games played
Anquan Boldin (2016)
Here’s an underrated player, Anquan Boldin. That’s another guy that has a shot at the hall of fame, but it is far from a lock that he makes it. With over 13,000 career yards, Boldin was definitely one of the better receivers in the NFL for the 2000s and even in the 2010s.
Compared to the rest of the players on this list, his tenure was actually pretty solid. He was signed late in the 2016 offseason to a Lions team that a lot of people didn’t think was going to be any good. They ended up at 9-7 that year, and Boldin played a big role in that.
Contrary to the rest of his career, this season Boldin was much more of a tight end than he was a wide receiver. He was tasked with getting crucial first downs on 3rd and short opportunities, and he even scored a game winning touchdown against the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins.
67 catches, 584 yards, 8 touchdowns
Daunte Culpepper (2008-2009)
Daunte Culpepper played for the Lions? Indeed.
Much like his time with the Dolphins and Raiders, Culpepper on the Lions was nothing to tell your future kids about. In 13 games (10 starts), Culpepper was worse than a shell of his former self. He went winless overall, and was one of the starting quarterbacks on that infamous 0-16 2008 team. He ended up starting a few games in 2009 as well after rookie Matthew Stafford went down with injuries.
0-10 record, 1,731 yards, 7 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 64.4 passer rating
Mikel Leshoure (2011-2013)
The final player on this list is probably the least known one as well. Like Young, Leshoure was also a part of that 2011 draft class, also going in the second round. As a rookie out of Illinois, he suffered a torn ACL before his rookie campaign, and missed the entire season. That 2011 team did manage to go 10-6 without him, so it’s possible he would have had a big role on the offense.
Leshoure did return for the 2012 season, but not before serving a 2 game suspension for PEDs. In his debut against the Titans, he rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown, and looked like he was going to be a big building block for the Lions future. Weeks later, he rushed for 3 touchdowns in a game against Jacksonville. However, this was his peak, as he had just 2 rush attempts for 9 yards the following season, and was out of the NFL after that.
But why? His 2012 stats were solid, but Leshoure lacked explosiveness. On 215 rushes, his longest run in 2012 was just 16 (!) yards. That is laughable. You figured that he would’ve broke off at least one or two big runs, but nope.
217 carries, 807 yards (3.7 per carry), 9 touchdowns