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By Terry Foster
The Family Deal

Let me tell you a story about former Lions wide receiver Brett Perriman.

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We nearly came to blows in the Lions dressing room after I ripped him to shreds in a column in The Detroit News. That’s because Perriman was a competitor and thought he was every bit as good as star receiver Herman Moore and newcomer Johnny Morton who was supposed to take over for both of them.

Perriman, 50, is in trouble today. He is in a Miami hospital after collapsing because of high blood pressure. The family is hopeful that Perriman makes it but they are not sure right now. I, of course, wish him well.

Let me tell you about our almost fight. Perriman played for the Lions from 1991-1996 after three seasons with the New Orleans Saints. The dude came in like a ball of fire. He talked plenty of trash and always demanded the ball because he believed he could make the team better.

He was a Hurricane and walked around with arrogance that only a Miami Hurricane could.

The Lions were struggling early in the 1994 season and I was talking to Perriman at his dressing stall. Of course he talked about wanting the ball more. I thought it would be a great column idea so I talked to Brett and wrote “a Brett Perriman needs the ball more column” for The Detroit News prior to an important road game at Tampa.
He was a speedy receiver capable of big things. The following season he’d catch a career high 108 balls for 1,488 yards. He and Moore (123 catches) became the first tandem to record 100 catches in the same season.

The Lions were three-point favorites but found themselves trailing 24-14 in the fourth quarter when they were driving to get back into the game. Perriman was targeted 12 times that game, more than Moore. Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell found Perriman on a six-yard gain midway through the fourth quarter as the Lions were driving.
But my man Brett fumbled and the game was over. Afterwards Lion fans threw rotten vegetables and debris as Lion players walked off the field. In my column the next day I created the scene and said they should have aimed most of the debris at Brett Perriman who let his team down after wanting to be a bigger part of the offense.

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Perriman was not happy with the column. I knew that so I showed up to practice the next day. Perriman wanted to fight.

I invited him to hit me so I could sue him and become part owner of the Lions, and then you guys could blame me for one playoff win since 1957. We stood in the dressing room arguing. He thought the column was unfair, which it probably was. But my point was if you demand the ball then hang onto the ball.

Finally he said he was going to bring his boys up from Miami to kick my ass. And I countered by saying my boys from Detroit would send them back to Miami. In other words Detroit is tougher than Miami.

For the next two weeks Perriman screamed at me every time I walked into the dressing room. I’d say something back but mostly went about my business.

Then in the third week Perriman said “You crazy” and the dispute was over. It just disappeared and we went back to good natured ribbing of one another.
I respected that. Now one of the biggest little men in Lions history is in trouble and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Maybe I can get my boys from Detroit to pay him a friendly visit.

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(Foster can be reached at Terry.Foster@cbsradio.com)