By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – When one searches YouTube for Detroit Lions fifth-round draft pick Caraun Reid, a two-time first team All-America selection from Princeton, football highlight videos pop up first. After that come the videos of Reid singing.
The selections include a collaboration with fellow students on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as well as a solo of “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Reid said his enjoyment of singing goes back to his childhood, which also impacted the kind of music to which he listens.
“I was born and raised in the Bronx, but in the church, so I did a lot of singing in the church, so the music that gets me throughout the day, from day to day, is gospel music, so I listen to a lot of gospel, some soul like Stevie Wonder, Musiq Soulchild, Donny Hathaway, those key artists,” Reid said. “That’s pretty much how I was raised, and that’s what keeps me levelheaded at nights before I go to sleep.”
He has not sung for his teammates yet, and he does not plan on doing so until they force him, which he hopes will not happen until training camp. In the meantime, Reid will head back to where more people have already heard him sing – Princeton. He said he could hardly find the words to describe what it means to graduate from such a prestigious university.
“It’s amazing,” Reid said. “Just to know the amount of the students that I went to [Princeton with] are going to do such great things in the world, and I can be one of those people and I’m among one of those life-changes and world-changers. That’s just amazing. I never thought of having a great opportunity as I have now or even being in Princeton growing up. Just getting the opportunity to play and learn academically at that school was probably the best thing – second-best thing – that’s ever happened in my life.”
The number one best thing? Playing for the Lions, Reid said with a grin.
As a defensive tackle, Reid works alongside three-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh and fellow starter Nick Fairley, whose option the Lions declined to pick up because of Fairley’s tendency to oscillate between greatness and mediocrity. The coach for the position is Jim Washburn, who during rookie minicamp could be heard halfway across the field as he screamed during drills.
“I love it,” Reid said. “He’s been great, definitely has sort of that no-nonsense policy, doesn’t accept anything less than the best, and that’s sort of how I was raised in the Bronx by my parents. They were very strict and like things done in a certain way … Since he sets high standards, I just want to be able to play and live up to those.”
When he is playing, Reid will not be wearing glasses, or contacts, which might strike some as a bit odd since Reid wears glasses off the field. He arrived bespectacled to his first interview with Detroit media and explained that the less-than-great vision makes him better on the field. He explained Wednesday how he arrived at that conclusion.
“For like my first 15 years of life, I never wore glasses,” Reid said. “I tried the Rec Spec thing, and I just looked a little dorky, and people kind of made fun of me, so I didn’t like that – I mean I made them pay for it, but yeah. I just stopped wearing glasses and I felt it just brought a different kind of guy out of me. I was kind of blind on the field, but I’m good.”
The adjustment to NFL life can be a difficult one, but the only surprise to Reid is how enjoyable the whole process has been.
“I know I’m working, but it’s the greatest thing in the world,” Reid said. “I’m just having a lot of fun doing it, and that’s the best part about it.”