By: Will Burchfield
The Detroit Lions cleaned out their lockers on Monday and spoke to the media for the final time of the season, wrapping things up after their first-round exit in the playoffs. Here are five takeaways from what Jim Caldwell and his players had to say.
1. Caldwell said his goal every season is to win the Super Bowl, but doesn’t believe the Lions are particularly close to getting there.
“We’re a ways away right now,” he said. “Obviously we got into the tournament and that’s the number one thing you have to be able to do, get in first. So we had as good a chance as anybody else, (with) 12 teams in it. We just didn’t make it another step so that’s what we’ve got to keep doing. Giving ourselves opportunity, that’s the key.”
2. Golden Tate might disagree with his coach, stressing that the Lions are putting the past behind them.
“I can promise you,” Tate said. “We are not the same old Lions that people have been talking about the last 20 years. We are a different team. We have different characters in this locker room and we have more of a complete organization from head to toe…We’re moving in the right direction and we’re excited.”
3. Matthew Stafford, whose contract expires at the end of next season, said he won’t be spearheading efforts to sign an extension.
“It’s not up to me. It’s up to the people upstairs and the Fords and whether they want to or not. So it’s not on the forefront of my mind at the moment. Got a lot of things going on personally that are important to me, so I’ll figure that out when I need to.”
“If they come to me, they come to me. If they don’t, they don’t,” he added. “I’ll talk to you guys about it then.”
4. Ameer Adbullah, speaking to the media for the first time since tearing a ligament in his left foot in Week 2, said he still expects to be a “premier” running back in the NFL despite being dogged by injuries over his first two seasons.
“Coming into this league, I had no other plans but to be a premier NFL back and I know I will be. It just takes patience, it takes prayer, it takes diligence, and coming from this injury — these injuries in the last year — it’s just that much more important to me,” he said.
5. Despite blowing a two game lead in the NFC North with three games to go and ceding the division title to the Green Bay Packers, Glover Quin rejected the notion that the Lions’ late-season skid represented a blown opportunity.
“At the end of the day, there’s only going to be one team that’s winning the Super Bowl. We don’t play this game to say, ‘Okay, Detroit finally got a home playoff game,’ or, ‘Detroit finally got one playoff victory.’ You’re in it to win the Super Bowl…Say we do win the division. We get one home game. Is everybody happy? ‘Ohh, we finally got a home game.’ What would have happened if you don’t go and win it all? The same thing. We’re still having the same conversation. At the end of the day, the goal is to win the Super Bowl and we didn’t do it. It is what it is. We gotta come back and try to do it next year,” said Quin.