By: Will Burchfield
Bob Quinn said last week that the Lions are “going to leave the door open” on drafting Joe Mixon, and on Tuesday he may have pushed it open further.
Per NFL Network, the Lions were one of four teams to meet privately with the talented Oklahoma running back, who was denied an invitation to the scouting combine due to a 2014 incident in which he punched a woman in the face. Mixon will hold his Pro Day workout on Wednesday.
Several teams have soured on Mixon due to his speckled past – he was also involved in an ugly altercation with a female parking attendant in 2016 – but the Lions, perhaps due to their needs at running back, don’t appear to be one of them.
In fact, Quinn suggested last week the organization was giving Mixon the benefit of the doubt regarding the 2014 incident in which Mixon was later charged with a misdemeanor.
“I’d like to be able to get a chance to sit down with the people that know Joe – or Joe – and kind of see what the circumstances were around the incident,” Quinn said.
He got that opportunity on Tuesday night. Whether or not the meeting went well, it bears mention that Quinn said team owner Martha Ford, who in the past has taken a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence, would “absolutely” have to sign off on any decision to draft Mixon.
The Lions struggled to run the ball last season, finishing 30th in the league in yards per carry (3.7). It didn’t help that their top two backs, Ameer Adbullah and Theo Riddick, missed a combined 22 games due to injuries. Both appear healthy heading into 2017.
In 12 games for the Sooners last season, Mixon ran for 10 touchdowns and over 1,200 yards, averaging nearly seven yards per carry. He also caught 37 passes, five of which went for touchdowns.