By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – For free agent tight end Brandon Pettigrew, the situation would have been a new one regardless of whether Pettigrew stayed with the Detroit Lions or decided to move on. Either way, he would have a new boss.
New Lions head coach Jim Caldwell evidently made a solid enough impression on Pettigrew that he decided to spurn interest from several other teams and sign with Detroit for four years and $16 million.
“I just talked to Coach [Ron] Prince, and I talked to Coach [Jim] Caldwell,” Pettigrew stated in comments released by the team. “[Caldwell] seems like a very humble guy, a guy that wants to start out and instill discipline in the team. He’s already told me he wants me to step up and be in that role of a leader and coming out to accept that. I’ve been here long enough, and I agree with him. He seems like a great guy. So, I’m looking forward to getting back.”
While the coaching staff will be different, the roster will have plenty of similarities, most notably quarterback Matthew Stafford, with whom Pettigrew has shared plenty of practice repetitions and game experience.
“The dynamic of just being here and already being in a groove with players like Matt, Calvin [Johnson], but especially Matt. Obviously, we got drafted together. We’ve already got that going, and I think that’s important,” Pettigrew stated in comments released by the team. “I love the city. I’m grateful for being able to be here. The city is going through change, as is the organization. It’s just an honor to be a part of that.”
Pettigrew had reportedly visited multiple clubs, but he was not made available to media to talk about his deal, the second-largest free agent contract by the Lions this offseason, so his comments about outside interest were limited.
“Of course, the pursuits were real because that’s just part of the business,” Pettigrew stated in comments released to the team. “Change was here and change was there, so regardless, that’s the business.”
Caldwell said Pettigrew’s signing represents a significant commitment from both parties, and he mentioned both the tight end’s ability to block and his potential impact on the passing game.
“He gives you a guy that really is a dual threat in terms of being able to handle the end-line blocking on the line of scrimmage, which he does very well. Also, obviously, he’s a threat in the passing game,” Caldwell stated in comments released by the team. “When you look at what’s going to happen in most cases with the guys that we have on the outside, our inside receivers are going to certainly become a bigger part of our game. So, I think the addition of Brandon is going to be very important for us.”